Definition of cyanide in English:


Line breaks: cyan|ide
Pronunciation: /ˈsʌɪənʌɪd


  • 1A salt or ester of hydrocyanic acid, containing the anion CN or the group —CN. The salts are generally extremely toxic. Compare with nitrile.
    More example sentences
    • Both cyanides and nitriles have the general formula RCN with a triple bond between the carbon and nitrogen (R-CN).
    • The few exceptions to this definition are the oxides of carbon, the carbonates, the cyanides (compounds of carbon, nitrogen, and at least one more element), and a few other families of compounds.
    • The case hardening medium is a molten, nitrogen-bearing, fused-salt bath containing either cyanides or cyanates.
  • 1.1 [mass noun] Sodium or potassium cyanide used as a poison or in the extraction of gold and silver.
    More example sentences
    • How are you applying this technique to something which has been so much in the news recently and that is the question of cyanide used for the extraction of gold?
    • While he was recovering in hospital, someone somehow poisoned him with cyanide.
    • The committee was also worried that the gold will be extracted using cyanide which would cause irreparable damage to the East Rhodope Mountains.


early 19th century: from cyanogen + -ide.

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