from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An organic cyanide containing a CN group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any of a class of organic compounds containing a cyano functional group -C≡N

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of a series of compounds bearing the cyanide radical (-CN); particularly, one of those cyanides of alcohol radicals which, by boiling with acids or alkalies, produce a carboxyl acid, with the elimination of the nitrogen as ammonia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In organic chemistry, the class-name of compounds which contain the univalent radical -C: N. They are prepared by the action of alkyl haloids on potassium cyanide and, in some cases, by the dehydration of organic ammonium salts into which they are reconverted by the action of acids or alkalies. They are also called acid nitriles or alkyl cyanides. Occasionally tertiary amines (R3N) are called nitrile bases.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of a class of organic compounds containing the cyano radical -CN


nitr(o)- + -ile, chemical suff. (probably variant of -yl).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Nitrile is a cyanide-bearing compound. Your skin is a huge absorbant organ. Nitrile rubber gloves love to hug your skin.

    June 10, 2010

  • Makes for better gloves than latex.

    December 6, 2006