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any of a class of organic compounds with the general formula R-OH, where R represents an alkyl group made up of carbon and hydrogen in various proportions and -OH represents one or more hydroxyl groupshydroxyl group
, in chemistry, functional group that consists of an oxygen atom joined by a single bond to a hydrogen atom. An alcohol is formed when a hydroxyl group is joined by a single bond to an alkyl group or aryl group.
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. In common usage the term alcohol usually refers to ethanolethanol
or ethyl alcohol,
CH3CH2OH, a colorless liquid with characteristic odor and taste; commonly called grain alcohol or simply alcohol. Properties

Ethanol is a monohydric primary alcohol. It melts at −117.
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, sometimes called grain alcohol. The class of alcohols also includes methanolmethanol,
 methyl alcohol,
or wood alcohol,
CH3OH, a colorless, flammable liquid that is miscible with water in all proportions. Methanol is a monohydric alcohol. It melts at −97.8°C; and boils at 67°C;.
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; the amyl, butyl, and propyl alcohols; the glycolsglycol
, dihydric alcohol in which the two hydroxyl groups are bonded to different carbon atoms; the general formula for a glycol is (CH2)n(OH)2.
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; and glycerolglycerol,
or 1,2,3-propanetriol
, CH2OHCHOHCH2OH, colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting, syrupy liquid. Glycerol is a trihydric alcohol. It melts at 17.
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. An alcohol is generally classified by the number of hydroxyl groups in its molecule. An alcohol that has one hydroxyl group is called monohydric; monohydric alcohols include methanol, ethanol, and isopropanolisopropanol,
 isopropyl alcohol,
or 2-propanol
, (CH3)2CHOH, a colorless liquid that is miscible with water. It melts at −89°C; and boils at 82.3°C;. It is poisonous if taken internally.
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. Glycols have two hydroxyl groups in their molecules and so are dihydric. Glycerol, with three hydroxyl groups, is trihydric. The monohydric alcohols are further classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary according to the number of carbon atoms bonded to the carbon atom to which the hydroxyl group is bonded. Many of the properties and reactions characteristic of alcohols are due to the electron charge distribution in the C-O-H portion of the molecule (see chemical bondchemical bond,
mechanism whereby atoms combine to form molecules. There is a chemical bond between two atoms or groups of atoms when the forces acting between them are strong enough to lead to the formation of an aggregate with sufficient stability to be regarded as an
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). Chemical reactions involving the hydroxyl group in an alcohol molecule include: those in which the hydroxyl group is replaced as a whole, e.g., reaction of ethanol with hydrogen iodide to form ethyl iodide and water; those in which only the hydrogen in the hydroxyl group is replaced, e.g., the reaction of ethanol with sodium, an active metal, to form sodium ethoxide and hydrogen; and those in which the carbon-oxygen bond becomes a double bond to form an aldehydealdehyde
[alcohol + New Lat. dehydrogenatus=dehydrogenated], any of a class of organic compounds that contain the carbonyl group, , and in which the carbonyl group is bonded to at least one hydrogen; the general formula for an aldehyde is RCHO, where R is hydrogen
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 or ketoneketone
, any of a class of organic compounds that contain the carbonyl group, C=O, and in which the carbonyl group is bonded only to carbon atoms. The general formula for a ketone is RCOR′, where R and R′ are alkyl or aryl groups.
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 depending on whether it is a primary or secondary alcohol. Alcohols are generally less volatile, have higher melting points, and are more soluble in water than the corresponding hydrocarbons (in which the -OH group is replaced with hydrogen). For example, at room temperature methanol is a liquid, while methane is a gas.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Religions seem to have a difficult time analyzing their relationship with alcohol, especially wine. Significantly, another name for alcohol is "spirits." Conversations with the psychologist Carl Jung led Bill W., cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), to believe the only way to deal with "demon drink" was to enlist the aid of a "higher power." Breaking free from the "possession" of alcohol involved a battle of the gods. In a letter to Bill W., Jung wrote that the "craving for alcohol [is] the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our whole being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God... `alcohol' in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as the most depraving poison." Jean Shinoda Bolen, in her book Gods in Everyman, draws on this insight to affirm the basic tenet of AA: "When the use of alcohol or any other substance is motivated by Dionysus, a man or woman is seeking communion through these means; when this is the case, it's no wonder that a relationship with God helps bring about sobriety."

According to mythology, it was the Roman god Dionysus—earlier called Bacchus by the Greeks—who brought wine to the human race. A son of Zeus by Semele, a mortal woman, Dionysus was the god of wine and ecstasy. He was also the most human of the gods, and in his presence people are driven not only to great heights of spiritual awareness but also to depths of depression.

An ambivalent relationship exists between many religions and alcohol. Muslims and some conservative Christians forbid it. Christian women's temperance groups helped to bring about Prohibition in the United States. So runs the advice of good King Solomon in Proverbs 23:29-32:

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine. Drink not the wine when it is red... in the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.

Yet Noah—father of us all, according to Judeo-Christian scripture—didn't heed the word. The first thing he did after coming ashore after the flood was plant a vineyard, make some wine, and get inebriated (Genesis 20:21-23).

And the apostle Paul, in his first letter to young Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus, advised him to "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine for the sake of your stomach" (1 Timothy 5:23).

Such is the nature of the modern-day cult of Dionysus. On the one hand we rage against his worship, calling it "Bacchanal." On the other, we elevate his gift of wine to the realm of the sacred, surround it with mystery, lift it high at the altar, watch it mystically transform into the blood of God, and then drink it.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a hydrocarbon derivative in which one or more hy-droxyl groups (—OH) are attached to saturated carbon atoms. Compounds in which the—OH groups are directly attached to an aromatic ring are called phenols, and those in which the—OH group is attached to a doubly bonded carbon are called enols.

Classification and nomenclature. Depending on the nature of the hydrocarbon radical, alcohols can be acyclic, or aliphatic (methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, allyl alcohol), alicyclic (cyclohex-anol), aliphatic-aromatic (benzyl alcohol), or heterocyclic. According to the number of—OH groups in the molecule, alcohols can be classified as monohydric (alcohols), dihydric (glycols), trihydric, tetrahydric, and polyhydric. The—OH groups can be attached to a primary carbon atom, shown as—CH2OH, a secondary carbon atom, shown as

or a tertiary carbon atom, shown as

According to the attachment, a monohydric alcohol would be described as primary, secondary, or tertiary.

The names of alcohols are usually derived from the names of the corresponding hydrocarbon radicals. For example, CH3—OH is called methyl alcohol, C2H5—OH is called ethyl alcohol, and C3H7—OH is called propyl alcohol. According to the system of nomenclature adopted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the suffix “ol” (also “diol,” “triol”) is added to the name of the corresponding hydrocarbon, and a number is used to indicate the number of the carbon atom to which the hydroxyl group is attached, for example, CH3—CH(OH)—CH3 (2-propanol) and HOCH2—CH2— CH2OH (1,3-propanediol). Derived names are sometimes used for secondary and tertiary alcohols. Some alcohols have familiar names; ethyl alcohol is commonly known as spirits of wine or grain alcohol, and methyl alcohol is called wood alcohol.

Some pharmaceutical substances are sometimes referred to as alcohols even though they bear no relation to this class of compounds. For example, boric, camphor, and salicyl alcohols are actually solutions of, respectively, boric acid, camphor, and salicylic acid.

Properties. The lower monohydric aliphatic alcohols are colorless liquids. Their higher homologs (beginning with C12) are solids. The C1-C3 alcohols have the characteristic alcohol odor and a burning taste; the C4-C5 alcohols have a sweet, suffocating odor, and they impart an unpleasant odor to fusel oil. The higher alcohols are odorless. The simplest glycols and glycerols are viscous liquids. In the liquid and solid states, there is hydrogen bonding between the alcohol molecules. This bonding results in abnormally high boiling points; for example, CH3OH boils at 64.7°C, while CH3SH boils at 6°C. Alcohols are readily soluble in many organic solvents and are themselves good solvents. The C(-C3 monohydric alcohols, the glycols up to C7, and glycerol are miscible with water in any proportions. The solubility of the C4-C5 alcohols in water is limited, and the higher alcohols are insoluble in water. Alcohols form azeotropic mixtures with water and a number of organic compounds. These mixtures are used, for example, in the production of absolute alcohol.

The chemical properties of alcohols derive from the presence of the hydroxyl group. Upon reaction with alkali and certain other metals, saltlike products called alcoholates are formed, such as C2H5ONa. The reaction of alcohols with acids yields esters, RCOOR’. Primary alcohols are oxidized under mild conditions to aldehydes, RCHO, and, subsequently, carboxylic acids, RCOOH. Secondary alcohols are oxidized to ketones, R—CO—R. Alcohols undergo dehydration with relative ease, and depending on the nature of the alcohol and the reaction conditions, form ethers, ROR, or olefins. The reaction of alcohols with PC15 and SOCl2 leads to the formation of such alkyl chlorides as RC1 and RC12.

Preparation and use. In industry, the hydrolysis of alkyl halides is used in the production of amyl alcohols and benzyl alcohol. The hydrolysis of the esters of alcohols made with sulfuric acid (alkyl sulfates) is an important step in the industrial production of isopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and (ert-butyl alcohol from olefins. Many alcohols are synthesized by the direct hydration of olefins in the presence of catalysts and by the reduction of such car-bony 1 compounds as aldehydes (obtained, for example, by the oxo process, that is, the addition of CO and H2 to olefins) and ketones, as well as by the reduction of carboxylic acids and the esters of these acids. The hydrogenation of carbon monoxide yields, for example, methyl, n-propyl, and isobutyl alcohols. Ethyl alcohol and certain other alcohols are produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeast, while certain higher alcohols are produced with the aid of organoaluminum compounds (Alfol process).

Alcohols are very common in nature in the free state and in the form of esters. For example, fats and oils are esters of glycerol, waxes are esters of the higher aliphatic alcohols, and phenylethyl alcohol and menthol are constituents of, respectively, rose oil and peppermint oil. Cetyl alcohol is found in beeswax, and the ester of benzyl alcohol and acetic acid (benzyl acetate) is a constituent of the essential oil of jasmine flowers.

Because of their many uses, alcohols form an important class of organic compounds. They serve as intermediates in the production of dyes, synthetic fibers, plastics, paints, varnishes, detergents, plasticizers, emulsifying agents, and pharmaceuticals. In addition to their use as solvents, alcohols are used in the production of alkylating agents. The lower aliphatic alcohols have a weak narcotic effect, and some alcohols, such as methyl alcohol and ethylene glycol, are toxic.


Nesmeianov, A. N., and N. A. Nesmeianov, Nachala organicheskoi khimii, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1969–70.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Enlarge picture
Drinking alcohol is not only bad for your health, it also affects your dreams.

What does it mean when you dream about alcohol?

Alcohol can have a significant impact on sleep and sleeping patterns. Under the influence of alcohol, the quantity of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep decreases and Stage 4 sleep increases, creating the impression that one has slept more soundly under the influence of alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol disrupts the natural pattern of sleep, so that chronic alcoholics who have completely abstained for extended periods of time have been shown to exhibit abnormal sleep patterns. It has been speculated that the disruption of sleep patterns—particularly the reduction of REM sleep (often associated with dreaming)—by alcoholism results in irreversible brain damage.

Enlarge picture
Drinking alcohol is not only bad for your health, it also affects your dreams.

What does it mean when you dream about alcohol?

Alcohol can have a significant impact on sleep and sleeping patterns. Under the influence of alcohol, the quantity of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep decreases and Stage 4 sleep increases, creating the impression that one has slept more soundly under the influence of alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol disrupts the natural pattern of sleep, so that chronic alcoholics who have completely abstained for extended periods of time have been shown to exhibit abnormal sleep patterns. It has been speculated that the disruption of sleep patterns—particularly the reduction of REM sleep (often associated with dreaming)—by alcoholism results in irreversible brain damage.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(organic chemistry)
Any member of a class of organic compounds in which a hydrogen atom of a hydrocarbon has been replaced by a hydroxy (‒OH) group.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a colourless flammable liquid, the active principle of intoxicating drinks, produced by the fermentation of sugars, esp glucose, and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of organic chemicals. Formula: C2H5OH
2. a drink or drinks containing this substance
3. Chem any one of a class of organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups bound to carbon atoms. The simplest alcohols have the formula ROH, where R is an alkyl group
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Understanding the symbol of alcohol in your dreams depends on the relationship you have with it in daily life. If you drink regularly, you need to look at the other details of your dream more carefully. However, if you drink rarely or never, then this dream could represent a need for you to escape from your daily stress and your desire to get quick relief. The alcohol could be suggesting a need for healing and getting in balance. Your unconscious mind may be suggesting outrageous things in hopes that you get the message to “have fun, dream dreams, and get out of your own head!” Please keep in mind that the purpose of dreams is to raise our consciousness and to assist us in having better lives. The message in the dream about alcohol is most likely not encouraging you to drink but it may represent a need to feel better or get better.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Students were guided in the process of "making it rain" on their tiles by dropping two full droppers of rubbing alcohol onto them.
The San Jose Fire Department tested the liquid in the bottles and said it included a lethal dose of rubbing alcohol, which led to Behbehanian's arrest by San Jose police.
* Label another plastic cup "Rubbing alcohol" and add 10 mL of rubbing alcohol and 10 mL of tap water to make a 50% solution of rubbing alcohol.
If paste in container dries out, add a little bit of rubbing alcohol to paste.
It should be easy to convince them not to drink rubbing alcohol, so here we describe the optimal parameters for the use of isopropanol.
In Central America, they dye rubbing alcohol blue to indicate its explicit medical purposeses and to discourage the populace from drinking it.
'Balibuntal', which used to be a fine close-woven straw used for making hats, has been dumped on the linguistic rubbish tip, together with 'sagbag' (a large beanbag used as a seat) and 'rubby' (an alcoholic who habitually drinks rubbing alcohol).
safety goggles * five 20-ounce plastic cups * permanent marker * 0.7 liters (3 cups) isopropyl rubbing alcohol * 6 large spinach leaves * 2 red-cabbage leaves * 2 green-cabbage leaves * 1 large carrot with leaves * vegetable grater * 5 pieces of 13-by-13 centimeter (5-by-5 inch)plastic wrap * scissors * 5 coffee filters * tape * 5 pencils * 5 paper towels * pencil and paper
This material is usually found on upscale boats like Cobalts, and virtually any stain can be removed with a damp cloth or a quick dab of rubbing alcohol. Each seat bottom flips open toward the centerline and stays open by itself to allow easy access to the rotomolded storage areas.
Background Studies have shown that rubbing alcohol pads on stethoscope diaphragms can reduce bacterial colonization, but alcohol pads are used infrequently used and not always available.
YOU WILL NEED PER STUDENT/GROUP Materials (per student) 2-3 frozen strawberries (depending on size) Small clear plastic bag with tie or zipper Beakers and test tubes Skewer or glass rod Filter funnel and filter paper Extraction solution (10 mL) Rubbing alcohol (2 mL) Crushed ice for cooling rubbing alcohol and extracts Extraction Solution Tap water (450 mL) Tablespoon of salt (NaCl, 10g) Dishwashing detergent (50 mL) PREPARING THE EXTRACTION SOLUTION Mix the detergent slowly into 250 mL of water ensuring there is no froth.
Among the 6,000 or so oil-hungry items: crayons, disposable diapers,golf balls, panty hose, house paint, tires, linoleum, soft contactlenses, transparent tape, mops, tents, hair curlers, electric blankets,mineral oil, awnings, ammonia, insecticides, antiseptics, car soundinsulation, car battery cases, ink, paraffin wax, VCR tapes, sunglasses,toilet seats, water pipes, insect repellent, credit cards, ice trays,candles, rubbing alcohol, vitamin capsules, upholstery, putty, permanentpress clothes, electrician's tape, floor wax, eyeglasses, cold cream,shaving cream, bandages, nail polish, hearing aids, petroleum jelly,aspirin, shaving cream, toothbrushes, luggage, yarn, guitar strings,false teeth, ballpoint pens, heart valves, balloons, umbrellas, perfume,and pillows.