Ethanol , also called alcohol , ethyl alcohol , grain alcohol , and drinking alcohol , is a chemical compound , a simple alcohol with the chemical formula C 2 H 5 OH . Its formula can be also written as CH 3 − CH 2 − OH or C 2 H 5 − OH (an ethyl group linked to a hydroxyl group), and is often abbreviated as EtOH . Ethanol is a volatile , flammable , colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. It is a psychoactive substance and is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks .
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