AskDefine | Define acetate

Dictionary Definition



1 a salt or ester of acetic acid [syn: ethanoate]
2 a fabric made from cellulose acetate fibers [syn: acetate rayon]

User Contributed Dictionary



acetum “vinegar”, from acere “to be sour”.



  1. Any salt or ester of acetic acid.
  2. cellulose acetate
  3. A transparent sheet used for overlays.
  4. A disc of aluminium covered in a wax used to make demonstration copies of a phonograph record.



salt or ester of acetic acid
cellulose acetate
transparent overlay sheet
aluminium disc covered in wax

Extensive Definition

An acetate, or ethanoate, is either a salt or ester of acetic acid.
In organic chemistry, the abbreviation Ac refers to the acetyl group. The anion and the functional group may be written as −OAc and AcO−, or OAc respectively. Examples include HOAc and NaOAc for acetic acid and sodium acetate for the former, and EtOAc for ethyl acetate for the latter. Ac is also the symbol for the chemical element actinium, but confusion between actinium and the acetyl group is rare, since actinium has virtually no role in organic chemistry.


The acetate anion, [CH3COO]−, is a carboxylate and is the conjugate base of acetic acid. The acetate ion is formed by the deprotonation of acetic acid:


An acetate ester is an ester of acetic acid, with the general formula CH3COOR, where R is an organyl group.
Acetate can also refer to cellulose acetate, especially fibres or other derived products such as the acetate disc used in audio record production. Cellulose acetate can be found in many household products.


acetate in German: Acetat
acetate in Spanish: Acetato
acetate in French: Acétate
acetate in Galician: Acetato
acetate in Indonesian: Asetat
acetate in Dutch: Acetaat
acetate in Norwegian Nynorsk: Acetat
acetate in Polish: Octany
acetate in Portuguese: Acetato
acetate in Romanian: Acetat
acetate in Finnish: Asetaatti
acetate in Chinese: 乙酸盐
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