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Nomenclature and Terminology



Written language is inadequate for expressing the precise structure and composition of a molecule. Despite the best efforts of IUPAC and other groups to establish standard rules for naming compounds, the only unambiguous way to depict a substance is with a structural formula. The name of a particular substance can vary according to the source used: CAS, CRC, Beilstein/Reaxys, etc. all have used different nomenclature conventions over the decades, and the rules change over time. Many IUPAC-style names are now generated by software tools rather than by hand, and there is much variation. Chemists generally use acronyms, trivial names, and trade names as shorthand.

Concise etymological dictionary of chemistry.
(Applied Science, 1976)
print QD 5 B57 Reference
Definitions and origins of prefixes, suffixes, and other parts of chemical terminology.

GABCOM & GABMET : acronyms of compounds and methods in chemistry and physics.
(Springer, 1993)
print QD 7 G22 1993 Reference
Dictionary of acronyms commonly used as shorthand for reagents and methods in the chemical literature.

Hawley's condensed chemical dictionary.
(15th ed., Wiley, 2007)
print QD 5 C5 2007 Reference
A good all-around dictionary of chemistry, strong on defining classes of compounds, functional groups, important substances, techniques, equipment, etc.

Naming and indexing of chemical substances for Chemical Abstracts.
print CA Index Guide, Appendix IV (2001) Shelved with CA.
e-book PDF version (2007 edition)
More than you'd ever want to know about how CAS names the substances it registers.

Nomenclature of organic chemistry.
(4th ed., RSC, 2014)
print QD 291 I57 2014 Reference
e-book E-Book version (1979/93 editions)
IUPAC's newest "Blue Book" of collected recommendations on nomenclature of organic molecules.

USP dictionary of USAN and international drug names.
(USP, 1995-)
print RS 55 U54 Reference
Annual dictionary of generic and brand names and CAS Registry Numbers for drugs, published as part of the U.S. Pharmacopeia. Latest edition in Life Science Library Reference.

The Vocabulary and concepts of organic chemistry.
(2nd ed., Wiley, 2005)
print QD 291 C55 2005 Reference
Not a typical alphabetical dictionary, but a series of topical chapters grouping organic concepts and defining terms in context, with examples. Consult the index and table of contents.


see more Chemical Names and Structures

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