Definition of aliphatic in English:



  • Relating to or denoting organic compounds in which carbon atoms form open chains (as in the alkanes), not aromatic rings.

    Compare with alicyclic
    • ‘The most relevant candidate for this kind of investigation is 19 F-labeled tryptophan, besides other aromatic and aliphatic amino acids.’
    • ‘For example, alkyl groups can be introduced into aliphatic hydrocarbons or aromatic hydrocarbons by alkylation reactions.’
    • ‘Aromatic and aliphatic polyurethanes share the following properties that make them suitable for use in medical devices.’
    • ‘These included formaldehyde, several other aldehydes, ketones, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, glycol ethers, organic acids, and alcohols.’
    • ‘The majority of substances identified were aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbons.’


usually aliphatics
  • An aliphatic compound.

    • ‘Focusing on aliphatics, this series can be further divided into families called homologous series of compounds.’
    • ‘Pesticide organochlorines are diphenyl aliphatics previously used to control insect vector infections.’
    • ‘For the chlorinated aliphatics industry, the main data to be collected will be clarifications to survey information, and possibly site visits.’
    • ‘Aliphatics are our company's range of hydrocarbon fluids including specialty brands.’
    • ‘The characteristic that distinguishes benzene from the aliphatics and alicyclics, and that defines the aromatics, is the arrangement of electrons in the ring.’


Late 19th century (originally used of the fatty acids): from Greek aleiphar, aleiphat- ‘fat’ + -ic.