A colorless, inflammable, poisonous gas, C2N2, with a peach-blossom odor, so called from its tendency to form blue compounds; obtained by heating ammonium oxalate, mercuric cyanide, etc. It is obtained in combination, forming an alkaline cyanide when nitrogen or a nitrogenous compound is strongly ignited with carbon and soda or potash. It conducts itself like a member of the halogen group of elements, and shows a tendency to form complex compounds. The name is also applied to the univalent radical, CN (the half molecule of cyanogen proper), which was one of the first compound radicals recognized.
- A colorless, flammable, pungent, highly poisonous gas, C2N2, used as a rocket propellant, an insecticide, and a chemical weapon.
- A univalent radical, CN, found in simple and complex cyanide compounds.