from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun An oily liquid acid, C3H6O2, 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun organic chemistry The compound with the formula CH3CH2COOH, a naturally occurring
carboxylic acidwith a pungent odor.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a liquid fatty acid found in milk and sweat and in fuel distillates
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
[Greek pro-, first; see pro– + Greek pīōn, fat (from the fact that it is first in order among the fatty acids); see peiə- in Indo-European roots + –ic.]
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
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.
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