One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of the series of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) having the formula C₁₈H₃₈; specifically (also "n-octadecane") the unbranched isomer CH₃(CH₂)₁₆CH₃.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Journal of the Chemical Society. From octa- + decane, after German Octadecan.
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