Primary alcohol

A primary alcohol is an alcohol which has the hydroxyl group connected to a primary carbon atom. It can also be defined as a molecule containing a “–CH2OH” group.[1] In contrast, a secondary alcohol has a formula “–CHROH” and a tertiary alcohol has a formula “–CR2OH”, where “R” indicates a carbon-containing group.

Examples of primary alcohols include ethanol and butanol.

Some sources include methanol as a primary alcohol,[2][3] including the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica,[4] but this interpretation is less common in modern texts.

See also


  1. "Definition: primary alcohol from Online Medical Dictionary". Retrieved 2007-11-22.
  2. "an introduction to alcohols". Retrieved 2007-11-22.
  3. Albert S. Tarendash (2001). Let's review: chemistry, the physical setting. Boston, Mass: Barron's. p. 161. ISBN 0-7641-1664-9.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alcohols" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 527.
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