One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless irritant volatile acid made catalytically from carbon monoxide and steam. It is present in the fluid emitted by some ants.
- ‘Carbon dioxide is formed when formic acid is dehydrogenated.’
- ‘When it does so, however, it leads to the formation of highly toxic products - formic acid and oxalic acid, respectively.’
- ‘The simplest fatty acids include formic acid and acetic acid.’
- ‘Some of these compounds are already known to be dangerous to human health when ingested, such as formaldehyde, octane, formic acid, butane, methyl propane, and benzene.’
- ‘A single-step low-cost method has also been developed at the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis to produce formic acid with a yield of 90%.’
Late 18th century: formic from Latin formica ‘ant’.
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