Hypertext Webster Gateway: "alcohol"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Alcohol \Al"co*hol\ ([a^]l"k[-o]*h[o^]l), n. [Cf. F. alcool,
formerly written alcohol, Sp. alcohol alcohol, antimony,
galena, OSp. alcofol; all fr. Ar. al-kohl a powder of
antimony or galena, to paint the eyebrows with. The name was
afterwards applied, on account of the fineness of this
powder, to highly rectified spirits, a signification unknown
in Arabia. The Sp. word has both meanings. Cf. {Alquifou}.]
1. An impalpable powder. [Obs.]

2. The fluid essence or pure spirit obtained by distillation.
[Obs.] --Boyle.

3. Pure spirit of wine; pure or highly rectified spirit
(called also {ethyl alcohol}); 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.

Note: As used in the U. S. ``Pharmacop[oe]ia,'' alcohol
contains 91 per cent by weight of ethyl alcohol and 9
per cent of water; and diluted alcohol (proof spirit)
contains 45.5 per cent by weight of ethyl alcohol and
54.5 per cent of water.

4. (Organic Chem.) A class of compounds analogous to vinic
alcohol in constitution. Chemically speaking, they are
hydroxides of certain organic radicals; as, the radical
ethyl forms common or {ethyl alcohol} ({C2H5.OH}); methyl
forms {methyl alcohol} ({CH3.OH}) or {wood spirit}; amyl
forms {amyl alcohol} ({C5H11.OH}) or {fusel oil}, etc.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: a liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent;
"alcohol (or drink) ruined him" [syn: {alcoholic
beverage}, {drink}, {intoxicant}, {inebriant}]
2: any of a series of volatile hydroxyl compounds that are made
from hydrocarbons by distillation

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