IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry

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The IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry is a systematic method of naming organic chemical compounds as recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Ideally, every possible organic compound should have a name from which an unambiguous structural formula can be created.


  • In earlier times, when relatively few pure organic chemicals were known, new compounds were named at the whim of their discoverer … As the science of organic chemistry slowly grew in the 19th century, so too did the number of known compounds and the need for a systematic method of naming them. … A chemical name typically has four parts in the IUPAC system of nomenclature: prefix, parent, locant, and suffix. The prefix identifies the various substituent groups in the molecule, the parent selects a main part of the molecule and tells how many carbon atoms are in that part, the locants give the positions of the functional groups and substituents, and the suffix identifies the primary functional group. … For historical reasons, some of the simpler branched-chain alkyl groups also have nonsystematic, common names, as noted earlier.
    • John McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th ed. (2012), Ch. 3 : Organic Compounds: Alkanes and Their Stereochemistry

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