• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Mercaptan (Chem) Any one of series of compounds having an -SH radical attached to a carbon atom, also considered as hydrosulphides of alcohol radicals, in composition resembling the alcohols, but containing sulphur in place of oxygen, and hence called also the sulphur alcohols. In general, they are colorless liquids having a strong, repulsive, garlic odor. The name is specifically applied to ethyl mercaptan, C2H5SH. So called from its avidity for mercury, and other metals.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n mercaptan One of a class of compounds analogous to alcohols, in which the group SH takes the place of hydroxyl. They are all liquids having an offensive garlic odor, and form with mercuric oxid white crystalline compounds, hence their name. Methyl mercaptan (CH3SH), or methyl sulphydrate, is a highly offensive and volatile liquid.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. NL. mercurius, mercury + L. captans, p. pr. of captare, to seize, v. intens. fr. capere,


In literature:

The stuff smelled like a mixture of spirits of ammonia and butyl mercaptan, but it did the job.
"The Highest Treason" by Randall Garrett

In news:

A community meeting will be held Tuesday at 6 pm to discuss environmental study results on the mercaptan release in the Eight Mile community.
Its function is to extract mercaptan in LPG with a caustic, but during annual shut-down it is shown that the top trays are damaged.
After a crane operator cut into a drum of Ethyl Mercaptan, a potentially dangerous chemical added to propane and natural gas.
Consultants hired by Mobile Gas have installed a new system of pipes and pumps to get rid of the butyl mercaptan spill plaguing Eight Mile.