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.