One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless, odourless flammable gas which is the main constituent of natural gas. It is the simplest member of the alkane series of hydrocarbons.
- ‘Other trace gases include methane, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and ozone.’
- ‘For example, the alcohol derivative of methane is methanol and of ethane is ethanol.’
- ‘Food waste is turned into hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide by the heat of the exhaust.’
- ‘Natural gas is mostly methane with small quantities of ethane and other gases mixed in.’
- ‘Will it in the meantime be made from hydrocarbons like methane and natural gas?’
Mid 19th century: from methyl + -ane.
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