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Hydroxyl vs. Alcohol: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 27, 2023
Hydroxyl is a functional group (-OH) in organic chemistry. Alcohol is an organic compound with a hydroxyl group bonded to a carbon atom.

Key Differences

Hydroxyl refers to an -OH group in organic chemistry, essential in many molecules. Alcohol is a broader term, describing a type of organic compound that includes a hydroxyl group bonded specifically to a carbon atom.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023
In hydroxyl groups, oxygen and hydrogen are bonded together. In alcohols, this hydroxyl group is attached to a carbon atom, often part of a larger organic structure.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023
Hydroxyls are not standalone molecules but are part of larger compounds. Alcohols, such as ethanol or methanol, are complete molecules with specific properties and uses.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
The presence of a hydroxyl group can influence the chemical behavior of a molecule. Alcohols exhibit properties like solubility in water and reactivity due to their hydroxyl group.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023
Hydroxyl groups play a role in forming substances like alcohols, acids, and esters. Alcohols are one of the most common types of organic compounds, used in everything from beverages to solvents.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Functional group (-OH) in organic chemistry.
Organic compound with a hydroxyl group on carbon.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Molecular Structure

Part of a larger molecule, not a standalone entity.
Complete molecule with distinct properties.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Chemical Behavior

Influences properties of the host molecule.
Exhibits specific properties like solubility.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Types of Compounds Formed

Involved in creating alcohols, acids, and esters.
Includes types like ethanol, methanol.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Usage

Integral in various organic reactions.
Used in beverages, solvents, and as a fuel.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023
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Hydroxyl and Alcohol Definitions

Hydroxyl

Hydroxyl is a functional group consisting of an oxygen atom bonded to a hydrogen atom (-OH).
The hydroxyl group in alcohols determines many of their reactions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Alcohol

Alcohol is an organic compound with one or more hydroxyl groups attached to a carbon atom.
Ethanol, found in alcoholic beverages, is a common type of alcohol.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Hydroxyl

Hydroxyl is essential in organic chemistry for creating various compounds.
Hydroxyl groups are involved in the formation of esters.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Alcohol

Alcohols vary in complexity from simple methanol to complex forms.
Glycerol, a type of alcohol, is used in food and pharmaceuticals.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Hydroxyl

Hydroxyls influence the chemical properties of the molecules they are part of.
The hydroxyl group affects the solubility of organic compounds in water.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Alcohol

Alcohols are used as solvents, fuels, and in beverages.
Isopropyl alcohol is used as a disinfectant.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Hydroxyl

Hydroxyl is a common group in organic compounds.
Phenols contain a hydroxyl group attached to an aromatic ring.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Alcohol

The chemical properties of alcohols include reactivity and solubility.
Ethanol is soluble in water and reacts with acids to form esters.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Hydroxyl

Hydroxyl groups are part of larger organic molecules.
Carboxylic acids contain both a hydroxyl and a carbonyl group.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Alcohol

Alcohols are important in various industrial and medical applications.
Ethanol is used as a biofuel.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Hydroxyl

The univalent group OH, a characteristic component of bases, certain acids, phenols, alcohols, carboxylic and sulfonic acids, and amphoteric compounds.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

Any of a series of hydroxyl compounds, the simplest of which are derived from saturated hydrocarbons, have the general formula CnH2n+1OH, and include ethanol and methanol.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Hydroxyl

(chemistry) A univalent radical or functional group (–OH) in organic chemistry; present in alcohols, phenols, carboxylic acids and certain other classes of compounds.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

A colorless volatile flammable liquid, C2H5OH, synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs, cleaning solutions, explosives, and intoxicating beverages. Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Hydroxyl

A compound radical, or unsaturated group, HO, consisting of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen. It is a characteristic part of the hydrates, the alcohols, the oxygen acids, etc.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

Intoxicating beverages containing ethanol considered as a group
The national consumption of alcohol.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Hydroxyl

The monovalent group -OH in such compounds as bases and some acids and alcohols
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

Any of a class of organic compounds (such as ethanol) containing a hydroxyl functional group (-OH).
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

(colloquial) Ethanol.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

(uncountable) Beverages containing ethanol, collectively.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

(obsolete) Any very fine powder.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

An impalpable powder.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

The fluid essence or pure spirit obtained by distillation.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

Pure spirit of wine; pure or highly rectified spirit (called also ethyl alcohol or ethanol, CH3.CH2.OH); the spirituous or intoxicating element of fermented or distilled liquors, or more loosely a liquid containing it in considerable quantity. It is extracted by simple distillation from various vegetable juices and infusions of a saccharine nature, which have undergone vinous fermentation.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

A class of compounds analogous to vinic alcohol in constitution. Chemically speaking, they are hydroxides of certain organic radicals; as, the radical ethyl forms common or ethyl alcohol (C2H5.OH); methyl forms methyl alcohol (CH3.OH) or wood spirit; amyl forms amyl alcohol (C5H11.OH) or fusel oil, etc.
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

A liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent;
Alcohol (or drink) ruined him
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Alcohol

Any of a series of volatile hydroxyl compounds that are made from hydrocarbons by distillation
Sara Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

FAQs

Do hydroxyl groups make compounds more soluble in water?

Yes, hydroxyl groups generally increase solubility in water.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

Are all hydroxyl-containing compounds alcohols?

No, only compounds with a hydroxyl group bonded to a carbon atom are alcohols.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

What is a hydroxyl group?

A hydroxyl group is an -OH functional group in organic molecules.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

What is an alcohol in chemistry?

An alcohol is an organic compound with a hydroxyl group attached to a carbon atom.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Are alcohols acidic or basic?

Alcohols are generally neutral but can act as weak acids.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Can alcohols form hydrogen bonds?

Yes, alcohols can form hydrogen bonds due to their hydroxyl groups.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Is the hydroxyl group polar?

Yes, the hydroxyl group is polar.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Are hydroxyl groups found in sugars?

Yes, sugars contain multiple hydroxyl groups.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023

What are the uses of alcohols?

Alcohols are used in beverages, solvents, fuels, and antiseptics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

What are the types of alcohols?

Alcohols include primary, secondary, and tertiary, based on the carbon atom's bonding.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Do alcohols have a high boiling point?

Alcohols generally have higher boiling points due to hydrogen bonding.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

Can hydroxyl groups participate in chemical reactions?

Yes, hydroxyl groups are reactive in various chemical reactions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

Do hydroxyl groups affect molecule polarity?

Hydroxyl groups increase the polarity of molecules they are part of.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Are alcohols flammable?

Many alcohols, like ethanol, are flammable.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Is a hydroxyl group the same as a hydroxide ion?

No, a hydroxyl group is covalently bonded in a molecule, whereas a hydroxide ion is a separate, negatively charged ion (OH-).
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

How do hydroxyl groups interact with other functional groups?

Hydroxyl groups can influence the reactivity and properties of other functional groups in a molecule.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

What role do hydroxyl groups play in acids?

Hydroxyl groups are part of carboxylic acids, contributing to their acidic nature.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Can alcohols be synthesized in the laboratory?

Yes, alcohols can be synthesized through various chemical reactions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 27, 2023

Can alcohols be converted into other compounds?

Yes, alcohols can be chemically transformed into esters, ethers, and halides.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

What is the simplest alcohol?

The simplest alcohol is methanol (CH3OH).
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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