Ketone Definition in Chemistry

What Exactly Is a Ketone?

Cans of acetone in the store.

evan p. cordes / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A ketone is a compound containing a carbonyl functional group bridging two groups of atoms. The general formula for a ketone is RC(=O)R' where R and R' are alkyl or aryl groups.
IUPAC ketone functional group names contain "oxo" or "keto". Ketones are named by changing the -e on the end of the parent alkane name to -one.

Ketone Exampes

Acetone is a ketone. The carbonyl group is connected to the alkane propane, therefore the IUPAC name for acetone would be propanone.


  • McMurry, John E. (1992). Organic Chemistry (3rd ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth. ISBN 0-534-16218-5.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Ketone Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Ketone Definition in Chemistry. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Ketone Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 28, 2023).