Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A colorless volatile flammable liquid, C2H5OH, synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs, cleaning solutions, explosives, and intoxicating beverages. Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol.
  • n. Intoxicating liquor containing alcohol.
  • n. Any of a series of hydroxyl compounds, the simplest of which are derived from saturated hydrocarbons, have the general formula CnH2n+1OH, and include ethanol and methanol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of a class of organic compounds (such as ethanol) containing a hydroxyl functional group (-OH).
  • n. An intoxicating beverage made by the fermentation of sugar or sugar-containing material.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An impalpable powder.
  • n. The fluid essence or pure spirit obtained by distillation.
  • n. Pure spirit of wine; pure or highly rectified spirit (called also ethyl alcohol or ethanol, CH3.CH2.OH); the spirituous or intoxicating element of fermented or distilled liquors, or more loosely a liquid containing it in considerable quantity. It is extracted by simple distillation from various vegetable juices and infusions of a saccharine nature, which have undergone vinous fermentation.
  • n. A class of compounds analogous to vinic alcohol in constitution. Chemically speaking, they are hydroxides of certain organic radicals

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A liquid, ethyl hydrate, C2H5OH, formed by the fermentation of aqueous sugar-solutions, or by the destructive distillation of organic bodies, as wood.
  • n. In popular usage, any liquor containing this spirit.
  • n. In organic chemistry, the general name of a series of compounds which may be regarded as derived from the normal hydrocarbons by replacing hydrogen with the group OH, or hydroxyl, and which correspond to the hydroxids of the metals.
  • n. An impalpable powder.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent
  • n. any of a series of volatile hydroxyl compounds that are made from hydrocarbons by distillation

Etymologies

Medieval Latin, fine metallic powder, especially of antimony, from Arabic al-kuḥl : al-, the + kuḥl, powder of antimony; see kḥl in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English or Old French alcohol (modern French alcool), from Arabic الكحل (al-kuħl, "kohl") (by broadening). The etymology is conventionally given as الكحل (al-kuħl), dating to 1672, and has been promulgated by such authorities as Webster's Third New International Dictionary, which traces it through Middle Latin and Old Spanish. It entered English (and other European languages) by an alchemical term, by etymological broadening thence broadening to any distillates, thence narrowing to ethanol specifically. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • 1906 US Railway Assn. Standard Cipher Code; telegraphers' shorthand for "Make transfer of agency at".

    January 19, 2013

  • ML alcohol = 1. a powder used as eye salve; 2. kohl (an eye shadow consisting of antimony or soot mixed with other ingredients, which was used esp. in Arabia and Egypt); 3. a spirit, drinking alcohol.
    Arabic al-kuhul = powdered antimony.
    Alcohol is a compound derived by replacing ≥1 hydrogen of a hydrocarbon with an equal number of hydroxyls (OH–). Alcohols have the chemical formula is CnH2n+1OH].

    July 10, 2011

  • An Irish queer is a fellow who prefers women to drink.
    -Scan O'Faolain

    September 25, 2009

  • Writing in the magazine sub-TERRAIN, John More makes the following declaration: "Captains of industry, great generals, artists of genius, even politicians, are often just people who have discovered that alcohol can enable them to make economic, tactical, creative, or political decisions whose implications would paralyze a sober individual."

    September 10, 2008