<chemistry> An oily, viscous liquid, C3H5(OH)3, colourless and odorless, and with a hot, sweetish taste, existing in the natural fats and oils as the base, combined with various acids, as oleic, margaric, stearic, and palmitic. It is a triatomic alcohol, and hence is also called glycerol. See Note under Gelatin.

It is obtained from fats by saponification, or, on a large scale, by the action of superheated steam. It is used as an ointment, as a solvent and vehicle for medicines, and as an adulterant in wine, beer, etc.

Origin: F. Glycerine, fr. Gr. Glykeros, glykys, sweet. Cf. Glucose, Licorice.

(01 Mar 1998)