noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A colourless irritant volatile acid made catalytically from carbon monoxide and steam. It is present in the fluid emitted by some ants.
- Alternative name: methanoic acid; chemical formula: HCOOH
- Some of these compounds are already known to be dangerous to human health when ingested, such as formaldehyde, octane, formic acid, butane, methyl propane, and benzene.
- When it does so, however, it leads to the formation of highly toxic products - formic acid and oxalic acid, respectively.
- Carbon dioxide is formed when formic acid is dehydrogenated.
Late 18th century: formic from Latin formica 'ant'.
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