One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A solid saturated fatty acid obtained from animal or vegetable fats.
Chemical formula: CH₃(CH₂)₁₆COOH
- ‘Like all fatty acids stearic acid is insoluble in water, but is soluble in ether and hot alcohol.’
- ‘The most common animal fat is tristearin, which is composed of glycerol and three stearic acid molecules.’
- ‘Further improvements were made by substituting short-chain dicarboxylic acids for the surfactant stearic acid used to prevent agglomeration of the silver flakes.’
- ‘Both species exhibit low proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids and high proportions of oleic and stearic acids characteristic of carnivorous and insectivorous species.’
- ‘Many shampoos are based on lauric, palmitic, and stearic acids, which have long chains of 12, 16, and 18 carbon atoms, respectively.’
Mid 19th century: stearic from French stéarique, from Greek stear ‘tallow’.
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