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For questions about saturated and unsaturated alcohols, their physical properties, their reactions, etc. For questions about phenol, use the [phenols] tag instead.

Alcohol refers to a class of organic compounds, which have a hydroxyl functional group bound to a saturated carbon atom (phenols are considered a separate class). It is often used as a synonym for ethyl-alcohol which is used in alcoholic beverages.

generic structure of alcohol

There are several kinds of alcohols, depending on the moieties $\ce{R}$. Important classes include simple acyclic alcohols with the general formula $\ce{C_{n}H_{2n + 1}OH}$. The most famous one amongst this group is ethyl-alcohol $\ce{H3C-CH2OH}$ which is used in beverages. It is therefore very common that alcohol refers to this particular molecule.

If hydroxylic group is connected with unsaturated carbon resulting compounds are called phenols, enols or ynols and have properties distinct from alcohols.

Alcohols of any kind find various applications as antiseptics, fuels and preservatives. Especially in and they are used as solvents. (See also Wikipedia.)