One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless pungent-smelling hydrocarbon gas, which burns with a bright flame, used in welding and formerly in lighting.
Alternative name: ethyne; chemical formula: C₂H₂
- ‘We use the heat produced by the burning of acetylene in the flame of the oxyacetylene torch to make welds.’
- ‘Observers have long known that Titan's atmosphere contains methane, ethane, acetylene and many other hydrocarbon compounds.’
- ‘To transport gaseous substances such as propane or acetylene economically, they must be compressed greatly to fit into containers of a reasonable size.’
- ‘Acrylonitrile is another product of acetylene, formed in a reaction with hydrogen cyanide.’
- ‘A delicate 24-hour cooling operation saw roads and houses cordoned off as the emergency services tried to prevent the acetylene, propane and oxygen cylinders from exploding in Thornton Heath.’
Mid 19th century: from acetic acid + -yl + -ene.
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