Definition of empirical formula in English:

empirical formula


  • A formula giving the proportions of the elements present in a compound but not the actual numbers or arrangement of atoms.

    Compare with molecular formula, structural formula
    • ‘The empirical formula of a compound is that which is obtained through laboratory research.’
    • ‘When the chemical formula of an ionic compound is written down, it is the empirical formula that is used.’
    • ‘Butene and ethene have the same empirical formula CH 2 but different molecular and structural formulas.’
    • ‘The simplest version of the formula is the empirical formula.’
    • ‘Analysis showed it to have an empirical formula that doesn't correspond to any compound that's ever been reported.’