noun[mass noun] Chemistry
The acid that gives vinegar its characteristic taste. The pure acid is a colourless viscous liquid or glassy solid.
- By the time this stage is reached the wine is no longer wine but wine vinegar which combines the sharp, acid taste of acetic acid with the odour of ethyl acetate.
- At this time, the Arab alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan Geber produced concentrated acetic acid by distilling vinegar.
- Indeed, the synthesis of ethanol predates recorded history and acetic acid is oxidized ethanol or wine gone bad.
Late 18th century: acetic from French acétique, from Latin acetum 'vinegar'.
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