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See also: Methyl, méthyl, methyl-, and méthyl-


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Borrowed from German Methyl; compare French méthyle.

French chemists Jean-Baptiste Dumas and Eugene Peligot, after determining methanol's chemical structure, introduced "methylene" from the Ancient Greek μέθυ (méthu, wine) + ὕλη (húlē, wood, material) with the intention of highlighting its origins, "alcohol made from wood (substance)". The term "methyl" was derived in about 1840 by back-formation from "methylene", and was then applied to describe "methyl alcohol".



methyl (plural methyls)

  1. (organic chemistry) The univalent hydrocarbon radical, CH3-, formally derived from methane by the loss of a hydrogen atom; a compound or part of a compound formed by the attachment of such a radical.
    • 1973, Robert E. Cornish, Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies, page 119,
      You might point out in the theory of oxidation of oils, in development of rancidity in oils, that many methyls accelerate this oxidation of oils. I do not want to burden you with a lecture on chemistry but there are some methyls like iron which has both a valence of two and of three. Another example is cobalt which has a valence of both two and three.
    • 2003, Russell Timkovich, 73: The Family of d-Type Hemes: Tetrapyrroles with Unusual Substituents, Karl M. Kadish, Kevin M. Smith, Roger Guilard (editors), The Porphyrin Handbook, Volume 12: The Iron and Cobalt Pigments: Biosynthesis, Structure and Degradation, page 134,
      The southern acetates must be decarboxylated to methyls.
    • 2005, Bruce A. Hathaway, Organic Chemistry the Easy Way, page 38,
      The most stable form has the groups staggered and the methyls as far from each other as possible (DA[dihedral angle] = 180°).

Derived terms[edit]




From meth- +‎ -yl.


  • IPA(key): /meːˈtil/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: me‧thyl


methyl n (uncountable)

  1. (organic chemistry) methyl