| pKb = -1.9
| Viscosity = 0.0012 Pa s (at 20 °C), 0.001074 Pa s (at 25 °C)
| Dipole = 1.69 D
Ethanol , also commonly called ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts. It is a neurotoxic psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs used by humans. It can cause alcohol intoxication when consumed in sufficient quantity.
Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight chemical odor. It is used as an antiseptic, a solvent, a fuel, and, due to its low freezing point, the active fluid in post-mercury thermometers. Its structural formula, , is often abbreviated as , or EtOH.
''Ethanol'' is the systematic name defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for a molecule with two carbon atoms (prefix "eth-"), having a single bond between them (suffix "-ane"), and an attached functional group-OH group (suffix "-ol").
The prefix ''ethyl'' was coined in 1834 by the German chemist Justus Liebig.〔Liebig, Justus (1834) ("Ueber die Constitution des Aethers und seiner Verbindungen" ) (On the constitution of ether and its compounds), ''Annalen der Pharmacie'', 9 : 1–39. From page 18: "''Bezeichnen wir die Kohlenwasserstoffverbindung 4C + 10H als das Radikal des Aethers mit E2 und nennen es Ethyl'', …" (Let us designate the hydrocarbon compound 4C + 10H as the radical of ether with E2 and name it ethyl …).〕 ''Ethyl'' is a contraction of the French word ''ether'' (any substance that evaporated or sublimated readily at room temperature) and the Greek word ' (''hyle'', substance).
The name ''ethanol'' was coined as a result of a resolution that was adopted at the International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature that was held in April 1892 in Geneva, Switzerland.〔For a report on the 1892 International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature, see:
* Armstrong's report is reprinted with the resolutions in English in: 〕
The term "alcohol" now refers to a wider class of substances in chemistry nomenclature, but in common parlance it remains the name of ethanol. Ultimately a medieval loan from Arabic ''al-kuḥl'',〔OED; etymonline.com〕
use of ''alcohol'' in this sense is modern, introduced in the mid 18th century. Before that time, Middle Latin ''alcohol'' referred to "powdered ore of antimony; powdered cosmetic", by the later 17th century "any sublimated substance; distilled spirit" use for "the spirit of wine" (shortened from a full expression ''alcohol of wine'') recorded 1753. The systematic use in chemistry dates to 1850.
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