Chemical Common Names and Formulas

Scientific names can be long, so most people learn chemical common names.
Scientific names can be long, so most people learn chemical common names. (Alex Kondratiev)

Chemical names describe a substance’s composition, but we also use common names that are often associated with a property. So, you probably ask for salt at the dinner table instead of sodium chloride. It’s important to remember that common names are inaccurate and vary from one place and time to another. Therefore, don’t assume that you know the chemical composition of a substance based on its common name. This is a list of archaic chemical names and common names for chemicals, with their modern or IUPAC equivalent name. The chemical formula of each chemical is provided, too.

Common Chemical Names

Common NameChemical NameChemical Formula
acetic acidethanoic acid (usually known as acetic acid) CH3CO2H
acetonedimethyl ketone; 2-propanone (usually known as acetone) (CH3)2CO
acid potassium sulfatepotassium bisulfate KHSO4
acid of sugaroxalic acid C2H2O4
ackeynitric acid HNO3
alcali volatilammonium hydroxide NH4OH
alcohol, grainethyl alcohol C2H6O
alcohol sulfuriscarbon disulfide CS2
alcohol, woodmethyl alcohol CH3OH
alumaluminum potassium sulfate KAl(SO4)2·12H2O
aluminaaluminum oxide Al2O3
antichlorsodium thiosulfate Na2S2O3
antifreezeethylene glycol (CH2OH)2
antimony blackantimony trisulfide Sb2S3
antimony bloomantimony trioxide Sb2O3
antimony glanceantimony trisulfide Sb2S3
antimony red (vermillion)antimony oxysulfide Sb2OS2
aqua ammoniaaqueous solution of ammonium hydroxide [NH4+][OH]
aqua fortisnitric acid HNO3
aqua regianitrohydrochloric acid HNO3+3 HCl
aromatic spirit of ammoniaammonia in alcohol (NH4)2CO3
arsenic glassarsenic trioxide As2O3
azuritemineral form of basic copper carbonate Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2
asbestosmagnesium silicate Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
aspirinacetylsalicylic acid C9H8O4
baking sodasodium bicarbonate NaHCO3
banana oil (artificial)isoamyl acetate C7H14O2
barium whitebarium sulfate BaSO4
benzolbenzene C6H6
bicarbonate of sodasodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3
bichloride of mercurymercuric chloride HgCl2
bichromepotassium dichromate K2Cr2O7
bitter saltmagnesium sulfate MgSO4
black ashcrude form of sodium carbonate Na2CO3
black copper oxidecupric oxideCuO
black leadgraphite (carbon)C
blanc-fixebarium sulfate BaSO4
bleaching powderchlorinated lime; calcium hypochlorite Ca(ClO)2
blue copperascopper sulfate (crystals) Cu2SO4
blue leadlead sulfate PbSO4
blue saltsnickel sulfate NiSO4
blue stonecopper sulfate (crystals) Cu2SO4
blue vitriolcopper sulfate Cu2SO4
bluestonecopper sulfate Cu2SO4
bone ashcrude calcium phosphate Ca3(PO4)2
bone blackcrude animal charcoalC
boracic acidboric acid BH3O3
boraxsodium borate; sodium tetraborate Na2B4O7·10H2O
bremen bluebasic copper carbonate CuCO3
burnt alumanhydrous potassium aluminum sulfate KAl(SO4)2
burnt limecalcium oxideCaO
burnt ochreferric oxide, iron(III) oxide Fe2O3
burnt oreferric oxide , iron(III) oxide Fe2O3
brineaqueous sodium chloride solutionNaCl in water
butter of antimonyantimony trichloride SbCl3
butter of tinanhydrous stannic chloride SnCl4
butter of zinczinc chloride ZnCl2
calomelmercury chloride; mercurous chloride Hg2Cl2
carbolic acidphenol C6H6O
carbonic acid gascarbon dioxide CO2
caustic limecalcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2
caustic potashpotassium hydroxideKOH
caustic sodasodium hydroxideNaOH
chalkcalcium carbonate CaCO3
Chile saltpetersodium nitrate NaNO3
Chile nitresodium nitrate NaNO3
Chinese redbasic lead chromate PbCrO4
Chinese whitezinc oxideZnO
chloride of sodasodium hypochlorite NaOCl
chloride of limecalcium hypochlorite Ca(ClO)2
chrome alumchromic potassium sulfate KCr(SO4)2
chrome greenchromium(III) oxide Cr2O3
chrome yellowlead(II) chromate PbCrO4
chromic acidchromium trioxide H2CrO4 or H2Cr2O7
copperasferrous sulfate, iron(II) sulfate FeSO4
corrosive sublimatemercury (II) chloride HgCl2
corundum (ruby, sapphire)chiefly aluminum oxide Al2O3
cream of tartarpotassium bitartrate KC4H5O6
crocus powderferric oxide, iron(III) oxide Fe2O3
crystal carbonatesodium carbonate Na2CO3
dechlorsodium thiophosphate Na3PS2O2
diamondcarbon crystalC
emery powderimpure aluminum oxide Al2O3
Epsom saltmagnesium sulfate MgSO4
ethanolethyl alcohol C2H6O
farinastarch (C6H10O5)n –(H2O)
ferro prussiatepotassium ferricyanide K3[Fe(CN)6]
flores martisanhydride iron (III) chloride FeCl3
fluorsparnatural calcium fluoride CaF2
fixed whitebarium sulfate BaSO4
flowers of sulfursulfurS
‘flowers of’ any metaloxide of the metalXO
formalinaqueous formaldehyde solution CH2O
French chalknatural magnesium silicate Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
French vergidrisbasic copper acetate Cu(CH3COO)2
galenanatural lead sulfide PbS
Glauber’s saltsodium sulfate Na2SO4
green verditerbasic copper carbonate Cu2CO3(OH)2
green vitriolferrous sulfate crystals, iron(II) sulfate FeSO4
gypsumnatural calcium sulfate CaSO4
hard oilboiled linseed oilmostly α-linolenic acid, C18H30O2
heavy sparbarium sulfate BaSO4
hydrocyanic acidhydrogen cynanideHCN
hypo (photography)sodium thiosulfate solution Na2S2O3·5H2O
Indian redferric oxide, iron (III) oxide Fe2O3
Isinglassagar-agar gelatinmostly collagen
jeweler’s rougeferric oxide, iron(III) oxide Fe2O3
killed spiritszinc chloride ZnCl2
lampblackcrude form of carbon; charcoalC
laughing gasnitrous oxide N2O
lead peroxidelead dioxide, lead(IV) oxide PbO2
lead protoxidelead monoxidePbO
limecalcium oxideCaO
lime, slakedcalcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2
limewateraqueous solution of calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2
liquor ammoniaammonium hydroxide solution NH4OH
lithargelead monoxidePbO
lunar causticsilver nitrate AgNO3
liver of sulfursufurated potashmixture of potassium sulfides
lye or soda lyesodium hydroxideNaOH
magnesiamagnesium oxideMgO
manganese blackmanganese and iron dioxide (Fe,Mn)3O4
marblemainly calcium carbonate CaCO3
mercury oxide, blackmercurous oxide, mercury(I) oxide Hg2O
methanolmethyl alcohol CH3OH
methylated spiritsmethyl alcohol CH3OH
milk of limecalcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2
milk of magnesiummagnesium hydroxide Mg(OH)2
milk of sulfurprecipitated sulfurS
“muriate” of a metalchloride of the metalXCl
muriatic acidhydrochloric acidHCl
natronsodium carbonate Na2CO3
nitrepotassium nitrate KNO3
nordhausen acidfuming sulfuric acid H2SO4
oil of marsdeliquescent anhydrous iron (III) chloride FeCl3
oil of vitriolsulfuric acid H2SO4
oil of wintergreen (artificial)methyl salicylate C8H8O3
orthophosphoric acidphosphoric acid H3PO4
Paris blueferric ferrocyanide C18Fe7N18
Paris greencopper acetoarsenite Cu(C2H3O2)2·3Cu(AsO2)2
Paris whitepowdered calcium carbonate CaCO3
pear oil (artificial)isoamyl acetate C7H14O2
pearl ashpotassium carbonate K2CO3
permanent whitebarium sulfate BaSO4
plaster of Pariscalcium sulfate CaSO4
potashpotassium carbonate K2CO3
potassapotassium hydroxideKOH
precipitated chalkcalcium carbonate CaCO3
Prussic acidhydrogen cyanideHCN
pyrotetrasodium pyrophosphate Na4P2O7
quicklimecalcium oxideCaO
red leadlead tetraoxide,
lead(II,IV) oxide
red liquoraluminum acetate solution HOAl(CH3CO2)2
red prussiate of potashpotassium ferrocyanide K4[Fe(CN)6]
red prussiate of sodasodium ferrocyanide Na4[Fe(CN)6]
Rochelle saltpotassium sodium tartrate tetrahydrate KNaC4H4O6·4H2O
rock saltsodium chlorideNaCl
rouge, jeweler’sferric oxide Fe2O3
rubbing alcoholisopropyl alcohol C3H8O
sal ammoniacammonium chloride NH4Cl
sal sodasodium carbonate Na2CO3
salt, tablesodium chlorideNaCl
salt of lemonpotassium binoxalate KHC2O4
salt of tartarpotassium carbonate K2CO3
saltpeterpotassium nitrate KNO3
silicasilicon dioxide SiO2
slaked limecalcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2
soda ashsodium carbonate Na2CO3
soda nitresodium nitrate NaNO3
soda lyesodium hydroxideNaOH
soluble glasssodium silicate Na2SiO3
sour waterdilute sulfuric acid H2SO4
spirit of hartshornammonium hydroxide solution [NH4+][OH]
spirit of salthydrochloric acidHCl
spirit of wineethyl alcohol C2H6O
spirits of nitrous etherethyl nitrate C2H5NO3
sugar, tablesucrose C12H22O11
sugar of leadlead acetate Pb(CH3COO)2
sulfuric etherethyl ether C4H10O
talc or talcummagnesium silicate Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
tin crystalsstannous chloride SnCl2
tronanatural sodium carbonate Na2CO3
unslaked limecalcium oxideCaO
Venetian redferric oxide,
iron(III) oxide
verdigrisbasic copper acetate Cu(CH3COO)2
Vienna limecalcium carbonate CaCO3
vinegarimpure dilute acetic acid CH3COOH
vitamin Cascorbic acid C6H8O6
vitriolsulfuric acid H2SO4
washing sodasodium carbonate Na2CO3
waterdihydrogen monoxideH2O
water glasssodium silicate Na2SiO3
white causticsodium hydroxideNaOH
white leadbasic lead carbonate PbCO3
white vitriolzinc sulfate crystals ZnSO4
yellow prussiate of potashpotassium ferrocyanide K4[Fe(CN)6]
yellow prussiate of sodasodium ferrocyanide Na4[Fe(CN)6]
zinc vitriolzinc sulfate ZnSO4
zinc whitezinc oxideZnO