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n 1  :  a colorless flammable gaseous unsaturated hydrocarbon C2H4 that is found in coal gas, can be produced by pyrolysis of petroleum hydrocarbons, is used in medicine as a general inhalation anesthetic, and occurs in plants functioning esp. as a natural growth regulator that promotes the ripening of fruit - called also ethene   2  :  a divalent hydrocarbon group C2H4 derived from ethane eth*yl*enic adj eth*yl*eni*cal*ly adv 

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