Definition of stearic acid in English:

stearic acid

Pronunciation /stɪˈarɪk//ˈstɪərɪk/


  • A solid saturated fatty acid obtained from animal or vegetable fats.

    Chemical formula: CH₃(CH₂)₁₆COOH

    • ‘Further improvements were made by substituting short-chain dicarboxylic acids for the surfactant stearic acid used to prevent agglomeration of the silver flakes.’
    • ‘Like all fatty acids stearic acid is insoluble in water, but is soluble in ether and hot alcohol.’
    • ‘Many shampoos are based on lauric, palmitic, and stearic acids, which have long chains of 12, 16, and 18 carbon atoms, respectively.’
    • ‘Both species exhibit low proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids and high proportions of oleic and stearic acids characteristic of carnivorous and insectivorous species.’
    • ‘The most common animal fat is tristearin, which is composed of glycerol and three stearic acid molecules.’


Mid 19th century: stearic from French stéarique, from Greek stear ‘tallow’.


stearic acid