One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless, odourless, flammable gas which is a constituent of petroleum and natural gas. It is the second member of the alkane series.
- ‘The gas component may be ethane, propane, butane, carbon dioxide, or hydrogen sulphide, but is most commonly methane.’
- ‘It consists mainly of methane, the simplest hydrocarbon, as well as small amounts of heavier, more complex hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane and propane.’
- ‘Some familiar examples include methane, ethane, propane, and kerosene.’
- ‘Earth-based and space-based observers have long known that Titan's atmosphere contains methane, ethane, acetylene and many other hydrocarbon compounds.’
- ‘For example, the alcohol derivative of methane is methanol and of ethane is ethanol.’
- ‘The samples showed high concentrations of methane, ethane, butane, and propane, gases in a class of hydrocarbons called alkanes.’
Late 19th century: from ether + -ane.
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