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Chemistry Terminology

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Chemistry Terminology

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What is Chemistry? Chemistry is a branch of science involved in the study of elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances. The article Chemistry Terminology presents the list of Important Elements and Terms of Chemistry. This article plays a prominent role in GA/GK preparation in many competitive exams.


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Chemistry Terminology – List of Elements and Terms of Chemistry

Term Definition
Acids These are the chemicals that produce positively charged hydrogen ions (H+) or a proton in solutions.
Adhesive A substance that sticks two surfaces together.
Aerated Water that has had air (oxygen) blown through it.
Aerosol Very small solid particles suspended in air.
Air pollution Contamination of the atmosphere caused by the discharge, accidental or deliberate, of a wide range of toxic substances.
Alkali A base which is soluble in water.
Alloy It is metal prepared by adding other metals or non-metals to obtain desired properties.
Amino acids The organic acids which are constituents of all proteins in living organism.
Ammonium chloride It is a white, soluble, crystalline salt, used in dry cells.
Ammonium nitrate It is a colourless, crystalline salt, used in some explosives.
Antacids Substances used to reduce the pH of stomach juices and, therefore, relieve indigestion.
Anodizing It is a process of coating aluminium oxide, or alumina, using electrolysis, it makes the surface more resistance to corrosion.
Antibiotic These are medicinal compounds produced by molds and bacteria, capable of destroying or preventing the growth of bacteria in animal system
Antiseptic It prevents infections, decay and inhibits the action of microorganism.
Aromatic compounds These are organic compounds like benzene which have a strong smell
Argon It is a colourless gas which has no smell.
Arsenic It is poisonous metallic element.
Asbestos It is a useful variety of a rock-forming mineral which is fibrous, very heat-resistant and chemically inert.
Asphalt It is a brown or black tar-like substance, a variety of bitumen, found in a natural state or obtained by evaporating petroleum.
Aspirin It is an acetyl salicylic acid.

Term Definition
Bactericide It is a substance used to kill bacteria e.g. antibiotics, antiseptics and disinfectant.
Bath salts These are salts used to soften hard water.
Bauxite The principal ore of aluminium, consisting of a mixture of hydrated aluminium oxides and hydroxides, generally contaminated with compounds of iron, which gives it a red colour.
Beta Particle Electron ejected with great velocity from a radioactive atom that is undergoing spontaneous disintegration.
Biodegradable Capable of being broken down by living organisms, principally bacteria and fungi.
Bitumen It is a dark black viscous hydrocarbon manufactured artificially by heating coal, it is used in coating the surfaces of roads.
Blast furnace It is a special kind of furnace, iron is made inside a blast furnace.
Borax It is a white crystalline salt with an alkaline nature used in the manufacture of glass, soldering of metals, enamels, gems, soaps, etc.
Boric acid It is a white crystalline solid which behaves as a weak acid and used as mild antiseptic and in the manufacture of cement, enamels, etc.

Term Definition
Carbohydrates Energy-producing organic compounds, e.g. cane sugar, glucose, starch, etc.
Carbon dioxide It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas about one and a half times as heavy as air. It is given out during respiration.
Carbon monoxide It is a colourless, odourless gas resulting from the incomplete oxidation of carbon, it is poisonous to animal for it bind to haemoglobin more strongly than oxygen.
Carvacrol A thick oil extracted from the oil of mint and used as an antiseptic and anaesthetic.
Catalysis A phenomenon in which the addition of a small quantity of a substance enhances the rate of reaction manifold, without the added substance itself being consumed in the course of the reaction.
Centrifuge An apparatus that rotates containers at high speeds, creating centrifugal forces.
Chemotherapy It is the treatment of diseased by the administration of chemicals.
Chlorine It is a chemical element, a yellow, poisonous gas which dissolves in water. It makes water safe to drink.
Chloroform It is a swedish, colourless liquids and used as a solvent and anaesthetic.
Chlorophyll It is a green pigment found in all members of the plant species, excluding fungi.
Cholesterol It is steroid compound in all animals, but not in plants.
Charcoal It is a black solid which contains carbon, it is made by heating wood in a closed space with no air.
Cobalt It is a very hard and silvery metal, it is mixed with iron to make cobalt steel.
Chemistry It is the science concerned with composition of matter and of the changes that take place in it under certain condition.
Chlorination The addition of chlorine to drinking water and to water used in swimming pools in order to kill dangerous bacteria.
Citric acid A colourless substance especially used in jams and fruit juices as a preservative.
Coke Light type of coal obtained when coal is heated in the presence of air.
Corrosion It is a process whereby stone or metal is chemically eaten away.

Term Definition
Dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (D.D.T.) It is a common insecticide insoluble in water, easily soluble in ethanol and acetone.
Dehydration Elimination of water
Desalination The process of removing dissolved salts, mainly sodium chloride, from seawater and brackish water to yield potable water for human consumption.
Detergent A synthetic cleaning agent, it has the ability to emulsify oils and remove dirt.
Diamond Hardest substance known, made of pure carbon.
Distillation A process involving both evaporation and condensation simultaneously, used for purifying liquids.
Dynamite It is used for blasting. It contains sodium or ammonium nitrate sensitized with nitroglycerin and use absorbers like wood pulp.

Term Definition
Electroplating A method of coating on metal with a thin layer of another metal.
Emerald The green germ variety of beryl: One of the most highly prized gemstones.
Enamel A hard material containing over 90 percent calcium and magnesium salts which provides protection against corrosion or decay.
Enzymes Proteins that carry out different metabolic and functional reaction in animals and plants.
Ephedrine A white solid used in medicine for the treatment of asthma colds.
Epsom salts Hydrates of magnesium sulphate used in medicines to empty bowels.
Ethylene A colourless gas used in making plastic (polythene) and in artificial ripening of fruits.
Ethanol A colourless, flammable alcohol whose boiling point is 780 C. Ethanol is the alcohol contained in alcohol drinks.
Ether It is colourless liquid which burns very easily, it evaporates very quickly.
Evaporation Conversion of a liquid into vapour without necessarily reaching the boiling point.

Term Definition
Fermentation A chemical change brought about in organic substance by the enzymatic action of living organism such as yeast and bacteria.
Ferrous It describes iron or any metal which contains iron.
Flash point The lowest temperature at which a substance catches fire on being lighted with a flame.
Flint glass Glass containing lead silicate used for optical purposes.
Fluoride It is a chemical compound.
Fluorescence Emission of light by a substance when some radiations fall on it.
Forging A process in which metals are given the required shape by compressing them.
Free radical Group of atoms in particular combinations capable of free existence under special condition, usually for very short periods.

Term Definition
Hard water Water that does not lather easily with soap, and that produces ‘fur’ or scale’ in kettles, it is caused by the presence of certain salts of calcium and magnesium.
Helium It is colourless, odourless, gaseous, non-metallic element.
Hormones Compounds internally secreted in animal which stimulated organs in their respective action. e.g. insulin, adrenaline, testosterone, etc.
Hydrogen It is colourless, odourless, gaseous, non-metallic element.

Term Definition
Inert It is a substance which does not burn and does not change when it is heated.
Inorganic chemistry It is branch of chemistry dealing with the element and their compounds, excluding the more complex carbon compounds.

Term Definition
Kinetics It is the branch of chemistry that investigates the rates of chemical reactions.
Krypton It is colourless, odourless, gaseous, non-metallic element.

Term Definition
Lactose A sugar found in milk and used in some baby foods.
Lignite A soft, brownish-black coal in which the texture of original wood can still be seen.
Lipids Fats and their derivatives that occur in living systems.
Litmus It is a coloured dye which is often used to coat special strips of paper called litmus paper.
Luminous It describes something that gives out light.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) It is an extremely powerful drug that causes distortions in thinking and feeling.

Term Definition
Magnesia A white, tasteless powder used as a mild laxative and antacid.
Marsh gas Consisting mostly of methane.
Menthol A white, waxy, crystalline solid obtained from the oil of pepper mints and used in medicine and perfumery.
Mercury A silvery white liquid metal.
Methane It is a colourless gas.
Methanol It is also called methyl alcohol or wood spirit.
Minerals Ali compounds that are obtained from the earth’s crust.
Milk of Magnesia Common name for a suspension of magnesium hydroxide in water. It is a common antacid.
Morphine A pain killing drug, It is the main alkaloid present in opium, being 10 percent of its weight.
Mortar A mixture of cement, sand and water used to bind together bricks and stones.
Molten State of a solid that has been heated until it melts.
Mustard gas A highly poisonous liquid which evaporates easily and is used in chemical warfare

Term Definition
Napalm An abbreviated form of sodium (Na) palmitate. It is a gel made up of some readily burning hydrocarbon oils and soap. It is used a sin incendiary weapon with wide destructive power as it sticks to the target while burning.
Naphtha It is a mixture of hydrocarbon of low molecular weight obtained either from coal tar, petroleum or shale oil.
Narcotic It is a drug which tends to induce sleep or unconsciousness, for example, morphine.
Neon It is a chemical element and is a colourless gas which does not dissolve in water.
Nerve Gas It is a gas used in chemical warfare which is especially damaging to the nervous and respiratory systems.
Neutron It is an elementary particle that is a part of the atoms of all elements except normal hydrogen. It is present in the nucleus of the hydrogen. It is present in the nucleus of the atom along with another particle, Proton.
Nicotine A poisonous oily liquid which is the principle compound in tobacco.
Nitrates Salts of metals, formed with nitric acid.
Nitric acid A strong minerals acid used in medicinal preparations and in industry.
Nitrogen A gaseous chemical element.
Noble metals Metals such as gold, silver and platinum which are chemically much less reactive compared to other metals.
Non-ferrous metals Any metal other than iron of steel.
Nucleus The central dense part of an atom which contains practically all its mass.

Term Definition
Octane Number A measure of the quality of petrol.
Ore A naturally occurring mineral normally mined for the extraction of metal on a commercial scale.
Organic Chemistry Branch of chemistry that deals with carbon compounds,, in particular the more complex ones.
Osmosis The movement of solvent (liquid) through a semipermeable membrane separating solutions of different concentrations.
Oxidation It is a kind of chemical reaction.
Oxide A compound of oxygen and another element,, frequently produced by burning the element or a compound of it in air on oxygen.
Oxygen A colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-metallic, gaseous element.
Ozone A highly reactive pale-blue gas with a penetrating odour.

Term Definition
Paraffin It is an oily liquid.
Pasteurization A heat-treatment process to reduce the number of micro-organism present in food in order to extend its shelf-life.
Penicillin An antibiotic produced by the fungus.
Phosphorus A highly reactive, non-metallic element.
Photosynthesis A process by which green plants trap light energy and use it to drive a series of chemical reactions, leading to the formation of carbohydrates.
Pig iron or cast iron The crude, unrefined form of iron produced in a blast furnace.
Pigment It is a kind of coloured powder, It is mixed with liquids make paint.
Pipette Device for the accurate measurement of a known volume of liquid, usually for transfer from one container to another, used in Chemistry and Biology laboratories.
Plaster of Paris A form of calcium sulphate, obtained from gypsum, mixed with water for making casts and molds.
Platinum A heavy, soft, silver-white, malleable and ductile, metallic element.
Potassium It is chemical element.
Protein Any of a large number of complex organic compounds made up of long chains of amino acids and found in all living organism.
Propene A colourless, flammable gas, it is widely used by industry to make organic chemicals, including poly-propylene plastics

Term Definition
Quicksilver Another name given to mercury.

Term Definition
Radiotherapy It is used by doctors to help some of their patients.
Radium Radioactive, metallic element.
Roentgen It is a unit for measuring the dose of radiation.

Term Definition
Saccharin A white crystalline solid which is 550 times sweeter than sugar, but does not have any food value.
Sapphire Any gem, other than ruby, especially of blue colour due to traces of cobalt present in it.
Sewage treatment Waste water from industry or the home is treated in several ways in order to make it fit again for use.
Silica A hard, insoluble white, colourless solid with a very high melting point.
Silicon It is the chemical element.
Slag It is the molten mass of impurities that is produced in the smelting or refining of metals.
Smelting A method by which metals are separated from their original ore.
Smog A form of air pollution, dark, thick dust laden sulphurous fog that pollutes the atmosphere in industrial cities.
Sponge Iron It is iron in porous form.
Sodium It is chemical element.
Soft water Type of water that easily produces a lot of lather with soap.
Solvent It is a liquid.
Stainless steel It is iron containing 4 percent chromium to resist rusting.
Steroids Class of organic compounds present in animals and plants. These are present as bile acids.
Sucrose Cane Sugar made of glucose and fructose.
Sulphur dioxide It is a odorless gas which can make people cough.
Surgical Spirit It is ethanol to which has been added a small amount of methanol to render it unfit to drink.
Synthetic It describes an artificial substance.

Term Definition
Thermodynamics The branch of science dealing with the conversation of energy from one form to another, especially heat and mechanical energy.
Titanium It is a chemical element, a hard, white metal which does not corrode easily.
Toxin A poisonous substance produced by a living organism, generally bacteria.
Tungsten It is a chemical element, a grey metal which has a very high melting point, Filaments in electric light bulbs are made from tungsten.

Term Definition
Urea It is called carbamide, it is a white crystalline organic compound with m.p. 1330C, it is found in the urine.
Unleaded petrol Petrol manufactured without the addition of anti knock. It has a slightly lower octane rating than leaded petrol, but has the advantage of not polluting the atmosphere with lead compounds.

Term Definition
Vinegar A solution which is made by the action of bacteria on wine or cider.
Vitamins Chemicals which are important to the proper working of the body. They tend to be complex organic molecules which must be eaten, as in daily products are (Vitamin A) or fruit (Vitamin C).
Vulcanization A chemical process of improving the physical properties of natural rubber by heating it with sulphur.