One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Chemistry. Any of a class of organic compounds (dicarbonates) of the general formula RO—CO—O—CO—OR′; especially (in full diethyl pyrocarbonate) a viscous liquid with a fruity odour that is a ribonuclease inhibitor formerly used as an antimicrobial preservative for wine and soft drinks.
Late 19th century (in an earlier sense). From pyro- + carbonate. In sense 1 after pyrogallic, pyrogallol.
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