One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An atom or group of atoms taking the place of another atom or group or occupying a specified position in a molecule.
- ‘Under rigorous conditions benzene will undergo substitution for one of its hydrogen substituents, by a process called electrophilic aromatic substitution.’
- ‘In an interstitial solid solution, substituent atoms or ions are added to void spaces (interstitial sites) between normal atomic sites.’
- ‘These compounds differ in the level of oxidation of the flavane nucleus and in the number and position of hydroxyl, methyl, and methoxyl substituents.’
- ‘Other substituents coax beta-peptides into antiparallel hairpin and sheetlike structures.’
- ‘Any groups attached to the main chain are called substituents, they are there in place of hydrogen atoms.’
Late 19th century: from Latin substituent- ‘standing in place of’, from the verb substituere (see substitute).
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