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organic chemistry

the chemistry of compounds of carbon

organic chemistry (old definition)

the chemistry of compounds in living (or once living) things


comounds containing only hydrogen and carbon


hydrocarbons with only single bonds between carbon atoms

single bond

two electrons are shared

double bond

four electrons (two pairs) are shared

triple bond

six electrons (three pairs) are shared

homologous series

a group of compounds with the same general formula

structural formula

a chemical formula indicating the location of atomic bonds in a molecule


molecules with the same chemical formula but different structural formulas

side group

a group of atoms replacing hydrogen on the longest chain of carbon atoms

branched hydrocarbons

hydrocarbons with side groups on the longest carbon chain

normal hydrocarbons

hydrocarbons with only hydrogens or other single atoms on the longest carbon chain

condensed structural formula

a structural formula written on one line using parentheses to indicate side groups


hydrocarbons with at least one double bond between carbons; e.g. C₂H₄ (ethene/ethylene)


hydrocarbons with at least one triple bond between carbons; e.g. C₂H₂ (ethyne/acetylene)

aromatic hydrocarbons

compounds with a benzene ring

benzene ring

a ring of six carbons joined with alternating double and single bonds

hybrid bonds

bonds which can be thought of as the average of double and single bonds, as in C₆H₆

monosubstituted benzenes

benzene ring with one side group or "substituent" on a benzene ring


any side group or single atom substituted for a hydrogen on a benzene ring or other hydrocarbon

disubstituted benzenes

benzene ring with two substituents

polysubstituted benzens

benzene ring wtih three or more substituents

halogenated hydrocarbons

derivatives of alkanes, alkenes or alkynes (non-aromatics) with at least one hydrogen atom substituent


a hydrocarbon derivative with at least one hydrogen replaced by hydroxyl (OH⁻)


two hydrocarbon groups joined by an oxygen


molecules containing -CHO linked to a hydrocarbon chain or a hydrogen


molcules with carbonyl carbon (-CO) linking two hydrocarbon groups

carbonyl carbon

a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom

organic acids

acids which contain carbon and the carboxyl group (-COOH)

carboxyl group

the group -COOH in organic acids

carboxylic acids

alternative name for organic acids because of the carboxyl group they contain

function group

a group characterizing each type of organic compound


a hydrocarbon or aromatic part connected to a functional group

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