Does water have a chemical name?

If so, what is it?

P.S. I checked up the web and got all sorts of crazy answers like dihydrogenmonoxide, oxidane, hydrogendihydride etc. Please validate.

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    $\begingroup$ Related: Do chemists refer to water as “dihydrogen monoxide”? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly are you expecting of this "chemical name"? In what way is "water" "unchemical"? In what context do you want to use it, and why is "water" insufficient? $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol Any reason why this is not considered a duplicate? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Dmitry The question I linked asks about the usage of one specific name, "dihydrogen monoxide". This question is "what is water called". Close, but not quite the same, imo. As you can see, my answer didn't touch on the use of "dihydrogen monoxide". $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


TL;DR IUPAC hasn’t made up their mind, but plain old water appears to be an appropriate name. However, chemical derivatives of water may not be named using water.

In Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013 it is stated (P- that

The common names water, ammonia, [...] are used in these recommendations but their use as preferred IUPAC names is deferred pending publication of recommendations for the selection of preferred inorganic names; thus, no PIN label will be assigned in names including them.

I’m not sure when the next edition of the Red Book (i.e. inorganic chemistry nomenclature recommendations) is coming out, but I can quote the relevant section from the most recent version.

Table IR-6.1 of Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations 2005 lists "oxidane" as the parent hydride name for $\ce{H2O}$. However, it also adds the caveat that

The names ‘azane’ and ‘oxidane’ are only intended for use in naming derivatives of ammonia and water, respectively, by substitutive nomenclature, and they form the basis for naming polynuclear entities (e.g. triazane, dioxidane). Examples of such use may be found in Section IR-6.4 and Table IX.

Therefore the compound $\ce{ONONO} = \ce{(ON)2O}$, a nitrosylated derivative of water, is named "dinitrosooxidane" and not "dinitrosowater". More examples may be found in Table IX of the same publication.

Water itself is still called water. For example, tritiated water $\ce{H^3HO}$ is named (3H1)water (Section IR-


To make a short answer shorter, yes, dihydrogen monoxide.

To expand on it; the chemical name is based on the chemical equation of the elements, in this case $\ce{H2O}$, in which water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom thus the chemical name is created to tell this so you get dihydrogen monoxide, "di" meaning two, "mo" being short for mono, meaning one, and "oxide" meaning oxygen. And it works the same for most elements.

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    $\begingroup$ Analogy with hydrogen peroxide ($\ce{H2O2}$) and hydrogen superoxide ($\ce{HO2}$) suggests that the number prefixes would be omitted: "hydrogen oxide". $\endgroup$
    – zwol
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @zwol That's not correct. Hydrogen Peroxide is named weirdly for partly historic and partly chemical reasons. See here, and here. HO₂ is a superoxide, not hydrogen superoxide. See here and here. There are rules for naming covalent compounds. $\endgroup$
    – Cullub
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 22:29

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