Definition of urethane in US English:



  • 1A synthetic crystalline compound used in making pesticides and fungicides, and formerly as an anesthetic.

    Alternative name: ethyl carbamate; chemical formula: CO(NH₂)OC₂H₅

    • ‘A new survey by the government's Food Standards Agency shows that many old single malts contain much higher concentrations of a dangerous chemical called ethyl carbamate than younger, blended whiskies.’
    • ‘Rats of both sexes were anaesthetized with urethane.’
    • ‘When the Sunday Herald revealed in May that single malt whiskies were contaminated with high levels of a cancer-causing toxin, ethyl carbamate, the agency insisted that the health risks were minimal.’
    • ‘It's a transparent kayak, made of clear urethane and carbon kevlar.’
    1. 1.1
      short for polyurethane
      • ‘The pieces can be painted for better representation of what the final product will look like, or cast in silicon rubber to make copies in colored urethane.’
      • ‘These parts can substitute urethane, silicone, and rubber parts.’
      • ‘Weighing only 26 pounds and comprised of military-grade urethane and Carbon-Kevlar material, the kayak can be folded into the size of a backpack that fits right into the plane's baggage compartment.’
      • ‘Liquid silicone in urethane bags was used extensively for breast implants until reports of leakage in 1992.’
      • ‘Modified castor oil is now used in the production of urethane plastics, inks, rubber and other synthetic products.’
      • ‘Polyurethane is a synthetic varnish that is oil based and urethane is its counter product that is water based.’
      • ‘Grant Hawk's knives can be had with a variety of options including exotic wood, urethane, Micarta or carbon fiber handles.’
      • ‘The two-year-old inquiries, which originally focused on certain chemicals used to manufacture rubber, have expanded to include other products, including urethane chemicals.’
      • ‘Cody carved them out of urethane and polystyrene foam, coated them with primer or plaster and painted them blue, pink and white.’
      • ‘To do it, he invented a compound to make a solid core and a special urethane blend for the cover.’


Mid 19th century: from French uréthane (see urea, ethane).