Definition of mercaptan in English:

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Pronunciation: /məˈkapt(ə)n/


Another term for thiol.
Example sentences
  • Ethyl acetate, hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, excess sulphur dioxide, and the smellable compounds generated by some bacteria all can be reasons for judging a wine faulty.
  • Even a healthy animal not exposed to noxious substances will have some toxins present in the body (e.g., mercaptans, short-chain fatty acids, skatoles, indoles, ketone bodies).
  • In the pure science section is the data surrounding the two chemicals ethyl mercaptan and butyl sereno-mercaptan which smell of a combination of rotting cabbage, garlic, onions, burned toast and sewers.


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin mercurium captans, literally 'capturing mercury'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mer|cap¦tan

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