Definition of formic acid in US English:

formic acid


  • A colorless irritant volatile acid made catalytically from carbon monoxide and steam. It is present in the fluid emitted by some ants.

    Alternative name: methanoic acid; chemical formula: HCOOH

    • ‘The simplest fatty acids include formic acid and acetic acid.’
    • ‘Some of these compounds are already known to be dangerous to human health when ingested, such as formaldehyde, octane, formic acid, butane, methyl propane, and benzene.’
    • ‘A single-step low-cost method has also been developed at the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis to produce formic acid with a yield of 90%.’
    • ‘Carbon dioxide is formed when formic acid is dehydrogenated.’
    • ‘When it does so, however, it leads to the formation of highly toxic products - formic acid and oxalic acid, respectively.’


Late 18th century: formic from Latin formica ‘ant’.


formic acid

/ˌfɔrmɪk ˈæsəd//ˌfôrmik ˈasəd/