propionic acidpro·pi·onic acid
Origin of propionic acidpro(to)- + Classical Greek pi?n, fat (for Indo-European base see fat) + -ic
Origin of propionic acidGreek pro-, first; see pro–2 + Greek pīōn, fat (from the fact that it is first in order among the fatty acids); see pei&schwa;- in Indo-European roots + –ic.
- (organic chemistry) The compound with the formula CH3CH2COOH, a naturally occurring carboxylic acid with a pungent odor.
Coined by the French chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas, from the Ancient Greek protos ("first") and pion ("fat"), because it was the smallest carboxylic acid that exhibited the properties of the other fatty acids, such as producing an oily layer when salted out of water and having a soapy potassium salt.