One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a series of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) with the formula C₁₅H₃₂, especially (also n-"pentadecane") the unbranched isomer, CH₃(CH₂)₁₃CH₃, a liquid present in petroleum.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Henry Watts (1815–1884), chemist. From penta- + deca- + -ane. Compare French pentadécane, German Pentadecan, and also Byzantine Greek πενταδεκα-, variant (in πενταδεκαέτης) of ancient Greek πεντεκαιδεκα-, combining form (in e.g. πεντεκαιδεκαετής fifteen years old) of πεντεκαίδεκα fifteen.
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