Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is a Covalent Compound? Understand the different kinds of chemical compounds Share Flipboard Email Print Jynto/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated July 03, 2019 A covalent compound is a molecule formed by covalent bonds, in which the atoms share one or more pairs of valence electrons. The Different Kinds of Compounds Chemical compounds are generally grouped into one of two categories: covalent compounds and ionic compounds. Ionic compounds are made up of electrically charged atoms or molecules as a result of gaining or losing electrons. Ions of opposite charges form ionic compounds, usually as a result of a metal reacting with a nonmetal. Covalent, or molecular, compounds generally result from two nonmetals reacting with each other. The elements form a compound by sharing electrons, resulting in an electrically neutral molecule. The History of Covalent Compounds American physical chemist Gilbert N. Lewis first described covalent bonding in a 1916 article, though he didn't use that term. American chemist Irving Langmuir first used the term covalence in reference to bonding in a 1919 article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Examples Water, sucrose, and DNA are examples of covalent compounds.