nounEtymology: International Scientific Vocabulary nitr- + -il, -ile (from Latin -ilis1-ile) Date: 1848 an organic cyanide containing the group CN which on hydrolysis yields an acid with elimination of ammonia
Nitrile Ni"trile (? or ?), n. [See Nitro-.] (Chem.) Any one of a series of cyanogen compounds; particularly, one of those cyanides of alcohol radicals which, by boiling with acids or alkalies, produce a carboxyl acid, with the elimination of the nitrogen as ammonia. Note: The nitriles are named with reference to the acids produced by their decomposition, thus, hydrocyanic acid is formic nitrile, and methyl cyanide is acetic nitrile.