From German Mercaptan, coined from Latin mer(curius) (“mercury”) captan(s) (“capturing”). The term was introduced in 1832 by William Christopher Zeise because the thiolate group bonds very strongly with mercury compounds.
mercaptan (plural mercaptans)
- (chemistry) Any of a class of organic compounds of sulphur, ( R1.S.R2 ); they tend to be foul-smelling. When R2 is a hydrogen atom, they are termed thiols or thioalcohols.
mercaptan m (plural mercaptans)