One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless, sweet, viscous liquid formed as a by-product in soap manufacture. It is used as an emollient and laxative, and for making explosives and antifreeze.
- ‘Fats can be reduced in a solution of sodium hydroxide to produce glycerol and another kind of lipid, soap.’
- ‘Such agents include glucose, propylene glycerol, polyethylene glycol and hypaque.’
- ‘The fats or oils from these sources are isolated and hydrolyzed to produce glycerol and fatty acids.’
- ‘Fatty acids form esters with alcohols, and the common esters are glycerides, because the alcohol involved is glycerol.’
- ‘The acetins are derivatives of glycerol that are prepared by heating glycerol with acetic acid.’
Late 19th century: from glycerine + -ol.
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