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An alcohol is a chemical compound that contains a hydroxy group, -OH. Many important biological compounds are alcohols. Some alcohols can be used as solvents or chemical reagents. To many, alcohol implies the alcohol ethanol that is found in beer, wine and distilled spirits. The alcohol isopropanol can be used as a household disinfectant. Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is an impurity that caused blindness during the days of prohibition.


Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, and is responsible for its intoxicating effects and the alcohol withdrawal syndrome. See also alcohol (drug) and alcoholism.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, (CH3OH) is an impurity found in alcoholic beverages that can cause blindness.

Isopropanol (CH3CH(OH)CH3) is more commonly known as rubbing alcohol, and is used as a cleaner and solvent.