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Η ονομασία «αιθανόλη» επινοήθηκε ως ένα αποτέλεσμα μιας λύσης που υιοθετήθηκε στο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Χημικής Ονοματολογίας (''International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature'') που έγινε τον Απρίλιο του [[1892]] στη [[Γενέβη]], της [[Ελβετία|Ελβετίας]]<ref> For a report on the 1892 International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature, see: Armstrong, Henry (1892). "The International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature". Nature 46 (1177): 56–59. doi:10.1038/046056c0. Armstrong's report is reprinted with the resolutions in English in: Armstrong, Henry (1892). "The International Conference on Chemical Nomenclature". The Journal of Analytical and Applied Chemistry 6: 390–400 (398). "The alcohols and the phenols will be called after the name of the hydrocarbon from which they are derived, terminated with the suffix ol (ex. pentanol, pentenol, etc.)."</ref>.
 
Ο όρος «αλκοόλη», που τώρα αναφέρεται στην ευρύτερη κατηγορία των [[αλκοόλες|αλκοολών]], αλλά στην καθομιλουμένη ακόμη αναφέρεται αποκλειστικά στην αιθανόλη, είναι τελικά ένα μεσσαιωνικόμεσαιωνικό «δάνειο» από την [[αραβική γλώσσα|αραβική]] ''al-kuḥl''<ref>OED; etymonline.com</ref><ref>''[http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alcohol The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language]'', Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.</ref><ref>Υπάρχουν όμως και αμφισβητήσεις για την παραπάνω ετυμολογική προέλευση της λέξης «αλκοόλη», όπως αυτή: "The word "alcohol" almost certainly comes from the Arabic language (the "al-" prefix being the Arabic definite article); however, the precise origin is unclear. It was introduced into Europe, together with the art of distillation and the substance itself, around the 12th century by various European authors who translated and popularized the discoveries of Islamic alchemists. A popular theory, found in many dictionaries, is that it comes from الكحل = ALKHL = al-kuhul, originally the name of very finely powdered antimony sulfide Sb2S3 used as an antiseptic and eyeliner. The powder is prepared by sublimation of the natural mineral stibnite in a closed vessel. According to this theory, the meaning of alkuhul would have been first extended to distilled substances in general, and then narrowed to ethanol. This conjectured etymology has been circulating in England since 1672 at least (OED). However, this derivation is suspicious since the current Arabic name for alcohol, الكحول = ALKHWL = al???, does not derive from al-kuhul. The Quran in verse 37:47 uses the word الغول = ALGhWL = al-ghawl — properly meaning "spirit" ("spiritual being") or "demon" — with the sense "the thing that gives the wine its headiness". The word al-ghawl also originated the English word "ghoul", and the name of the star Algol. This derivation would, of course, be consistent with the use of "spirit" or "spirit of wine" as synonymous of "alcohol" in most Western languages. (Incidentally, the etymology "alcohol" = "the devil" was used in the 1930s by the U.S. Temperance Movement for propaganda purposes.) According to the second theory, the popular etymology and the spelling "alcohol" would not be due to generalization of the meaning of ALKHL, but rather to Western alchemists and authors confusing the two words ALKHL and ALGhWL, which have indeed been transliterated in many different and overlapping ways. The fact that stibnite is also mentioned in the Hebrew Bible under the name כהל = kohel = "" can only have contributed to the confusion....", VIAS ENCYCLOPEDIA.</ref>, που η χρήση του, με τη σημερινή έννοια της αιθανόλης, υιοθετήθηκε από τα μέσα του [[18ος αιώνας|18ου αιώνα]]. Πριν από το 18ο αιώνα, η μεσσαιωνικήμεσαιωνική [[λατινική γλώσσα|λατινική λέξη]] ''alcohol'' αναφέρονταν σε «κονιοποιημένο ορυκτό αντιμονίου, κονιοποιημένο κοσμητικό», μάλλον [[θειούχο αντιμόνιο]] (Sb<sub>2</sub>S<sub>3</sub>), αλλά αργότερα, κατα το [[17ος αιώνας|17ο αιώνα]], σήμαινε «κάθε εξαχνωμένη ουσία ή απεσταγμένο οινόπνευμα», όπως καταγράφηκε το [[1753]]. Η συστηματική χρήση του όρου «αλκοόλη» στη χημεία χρονολογείται από το [[1850]].
 
== Μοριακή δομή ==
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