Science, Tech, Math › Science Methyl Group Definition in Chemistry Chemistry Glossary Definition Share Flipboard Email Print Methyl alcohol or methanol consists of a methyl group bonded to an OH group. (H is white, C is black and O is red). Matteo Rinaldi / Getty Images 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 November 04, 2019 A methyl group is a functional group derived from methane containing one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms, -CH3. In chemical formulas, it may be abbreviated as Me. While the methyl group is commonly found in larger organic molecules, methyl may exist on its own as an anion( CH3−), cation (CH3+), or radical (CH3). However, methyl on its own is extremely reactive. The methyl group in a compound is typically the most stable functional group in the molecule. The term "methyl" was introduced around 1840 by French chemists Eugene Peligot and Jean-Baptiste Dumas from back formation of methylene. Methylene, in turn, was named from the Greek words methy, meaning "wine," and hyle, for "wood or patch of trees." Methyl alcohol roughly translates as "alcohol made from a woody substance." Also Known As: (-CH3), methyl group Examples of Methyl Groups Examples of compounds containing the methyl group are methyl chloride, CH3Cl, and methyl alchohol or methanol, CH3OH. Sources Heinz G. Floss, Sungsook Lee (1993). "Chiral Methyl Groups: Small Is Beautiful." Acc. Chem. Res. vol. 26, pp 116–122. doi:10.1021/ar00027a007March, Jerry (1992). Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-60180-2.