Definition of acetylene in English:



  • 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.