# Explain the difference between reaction intermediate and reactive intermediate

Wikipedia definitions of the terms:

Reaction intermediate:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_intermediate

Reactive intermediate:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_intermediate

What I don't really understand :

Are they defined just based on their stability?

What I mean is that, if an intermediate is stable is it reaction intermediate and if unstable is it reactive intermediate?

(Or) is there any deeper difference between them?...After reading the entire page I have an intuitive feeling that there is more to them than just stability.

• I think that you are correct in that the only difference is one of time-scale and this can mean different things to different people. A nanosecond is a long, long time for someone who works with femtosecond laser pulses to measure intermediates, but a very, very short time to someone who uses, say, stopped flow with microsecond resolution. – porphyrin Jul 22 '18 at 9:18

A molecular entity with a lifetime appreciably longer than a molecular vibration (corresponding to a local potential energy minimum of depth greater than $RT$) that is formed (directly or indirectly) from the reactants and reacts further to give (either directly or indirectly) the products of a chemical reaction; also the corresponding chemical species.