from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A liquid fatty acid, CH3CH2COOH, found naturally in sweat, in milk products, and as a product of bacterial fermentation. Prepared synthetically from ethyl alcohol and carbon monoxide, it is used chiefly in the form of its propionates as a mold inhibitor in bread and as an ingredient in perfume. Also called propanoic acid.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The compound with the formula CH3CH2COOH, a naturally occurring carboxylic acid with a pungent odor.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a liquid fatty acid found in milk and sweat and in fuel distillates
Greek pro-, first; see pro- + Greek pīōn, fat (from the fact that it is first in order among the fatty acids); + -ic.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined by the French chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas, from the Ancient Greek protos ("first") and pion ("fat"), because it was the smallest carboxylic acid that exhibited the properties of the other fatty acids, such as producing an oily layer when salted out of water and having a soapy potassium salt. (Wiktionary)