Moiety (chemistry)

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Benzyl acetate contains a benzyloxy moiety (encircled with light orange). It also contains an ester functional group (in red), and an acetyl functional group (encircled with dark green). Other divisions can be made. Benzyl acetate - functional groups and moieties.svg
Benzyl acetate contains a benzyloxy moiety (encircled with light orange). It also contains an ester functional group (in red), and an acetyl functional group (encircled with dark green). Other divisions can be made.

In organic chemistry, a moiety ( /ˈmɔɪəti/ MOY-ə-tee) is a part of a molecule [1] [2] that is given a name because it is identified as a part of other molecules as well.


Typically, the term is used to describe the larger and characteristic parts of organic molecules, and it should not be used to describe or name smaller functional groups [1] [2] of atoms that chemically react in similar ways in most molecules that contain them. [3] Occasionally, a moiety may contain smaller moieties and functional groups.

A moiety that acts as a branch extending from the backbone of a hydrocarbon molecule is called a substituent or side chain, which typically can be removed from the molecule and substituted with others.

Active moiety

In pharmacology, an active moiety is the part of a molecule or ion – excluding appended inactive portions – that is responsible for the physiological or pharmacological action of a drug substance. Inactive appended portions of the drug substance may include either the alcohol or acid moiety of an ester, a salt (including a salt with hydrogen or coordination bonds), or other noncovalent derivative (such as a complex, chelate, or clathrate). [4] [5] The parent drug may itself be an inactive prodrug and only after the active moiety is released from the parent in free form does it become active.

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Chemical reaction Process that results in the interconversion of chemical species

A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical reactions encompass changes that only involve the positions of electrons in the forming and breaking of chemical bonds between atoms, with no change to the nuclei, and can often be described by a chemical equation. Nuclear chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry that involves the chemical reactions of unstable and radioactive elements where both electronic and nuclear changes can occur.

Functional group Set of atoms in a molecule which augment its chemical and/or physical properties

In organic chemistry, a functional group is a substituent or moiety in a molecule that causes the molecule's characteristic chemical reactions. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reactions regardless of the rest of the molecule's composition. This enables systematic prediction of chemical reactions and behavior of chemical compounds and the design of chemical synthesis. The reactivity of a functional group can be modified by other functional groups nearby. Functional group interconversion can be used in retrosynthetic analysis to plan organic synthesis.

In chemistry, a hydrate is a substance that contains water or its constituent elements. The chemical state of the water varies widely between different classes of hydrates, some of which were so labeled before their chemical structure was understood.

Acyl group

An acyl group is a moiety derived by the removal of one or more hydroxyl groups from an oxoacid, including inorganic acids. It contains a double-bonded oxygen atom and an alkyl group (R-C=O). In organic chemistry, the acyl group is usually derived from a carboxylic acid, in which case it has the formula RCO–, where R represents an alkyl group that is linked to the carbon atom of the group by a single bond. Although the term is almost always applied to organic compounds, acyl groups can in principle be derived from other types of acids such as sulfonic acids and phosphonic acids. In the most common arrangement, acyl groups are attached to a larger molecular fragment, in which case the carbon and oxygen atoms are linked by a double bond.


An acetal is a functional group with the connectivity R2C(OR')2). Here, the R groups can be organic fragments (a carbon atom, with arbitrary other atoms attached to that) or hydrogen, while the R' groups must be organic fragments not hydrogen. The two R' groups can be equivalent to each other (a "symmetric acetal") or not (a "mixed acetal"). Acetals are formed from and convertible to aldehydes or ketones and have the same oxidation state at the central carbon, but have substantially different chemical stability and reactivity as compared to the analogous carbonyl compounds. The central carbon atom has four bonds to it, and is therefore saturated and has tetrahedral geometry.

In organic chemistry, a condensation reaction is a type of chemical reaction in which two molecules are combined to form a single molecule, usually with the loss of a small molecule such as water. If water is lost, the reaction is also known as a dehydration synthesis. However other molecules can also be lost, such as ammonia, ethanol, acetic acid and hydrogen sulfide.

Enantiomer Stereoisomers which are non-superposable mirror images of each other

In chemistry, an enantiomer – also called optical isomer, antipode, or optical antipode – is one of two stereoisomers that are mirror images of each other that are non-superposable, much as one's left and right hands are mirror images of each other that cannot appear identical simply by reorientation. A single chiral atom or similar structural feature in a compound causes that compound to have two possible structures which are non-superposable, each a mirror image of the other. Each member of the pair is termed an enantiomorph ; the structural property is termed enantiomerism. The presence of multiple chiral features in a given compound increases the number of geometric forms possible, though there may still be some perfect-mirror-image pairs.

Acyl halide Chemical compound

An acyl halide is a chemical compound derived from an oxoacid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group.

Oligomer Molecule composed of copies of a small unit

In chemistry and biochemistry, an oligomer is a molecule that consists of a few similar or identical repeating units which could be derived, actually or conceptually, from copies of a smaller molecule, its monomer. The name is composed of Greek elements oligo-, "a few" and -mer, "parts". An adjective form is oligomeric.

Chirality (chemistry) Geometric property of some molecules and ions

In chemistry, a molecule or ion is called chiral if it cannot be superposed on its mirror image by any combination of rotations, translations, and some conformational changes. This geometric property is called chirality. The terms are derived from Ancient Greek χείρ (cheir) 'hand'; which is the canonical example of an object with this property.

Pseudohalogens are polyatomic analogues of halogens, whose chemistry, resembling that of the true halogens, allows them to substitute for halogens in several classes of chemical compounds. Pseudohalogens occur in pseudohalogen molecules, inorganic molecules of the general forms PsPs or Ps–X, such as cyanogen; pseudohalide anions, such as cyanide ion; inorganic acids, such as hydrogen cyanide; as ligands in coordination complexes, such as ferricyanide; and as functional groups in organic molecules, such as the nitrile group. Well-known pseudohalogen functional groups include cyanide, cyanate, thiocyanate, and azide.

A clathrate is a chemical substance consisting of a lattice that traps or contains molecules. The word clathrate is derived from the Latin clathratus, meaning ‘with bars, latticed’. Most clathrate compounds are polymeric and completely envelop the guest molecule, but in modern usage clathrates also include host–guest complexes and inclusion compounds. According to IUPAC, clathrates are inclusion compounds "in which the guest molecule is in a cage formed by the host molecule or by a lattice of host molecules." The term refers to many molecular hosts, including calixarenes and cyclodextrins and even some inorganic polymers such as zeolites.

A new chemical entity (NCE) is, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a drug that contains no active moiety that has been approved by the FDA in any other application submitted under section 505(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

In medicinal chemistry, bioisosteres are chemical substituents or groups with similar physical or chemical properties which produce broadly similar biological properties to another chemical compound. In drug design, the purpose of exchanging one bioisostere for another is to enhance the desired biological or physical properties of a compound without making significant changes in chemical structure. The main use of this term and its techniques are related to pharmaceutical sciences. Bioisosterism is used to reduce toxicity, change bioavailability, or modify the activity of the lead compound, and may alter the metabolism of the lead.

A depolarizer or depolariser, in electrochemistry, according to an IUPAC definition, is a synonym of electroactive substance, i.e., a substance which changes its oxidation state, or partakes in a formation or breaking of chemical bonds, in a charge-transfer step of an electrochemical reaction.

Denticity Number of atoms in a ligand that bond to the central atom of a coordination complex

In coordination chemistry, denticity refers to the number of donor groups in a given ligand that bind to the central metal atom in a coordination complex. In many cases, only one atom in the ligand binds to the metal, so the denticity equals one, and the ligand is said to be monodentate. Ligands with more than one bonded atom are called polydentate or multidentate. The denticity of a ligand is described with the Greek letter κ ('kappa'). For example, κ6-EDTA describes an EDTA ligand that coordinates through 6 non-contiguous atoms.

Hydrophile Molecular entity that is attracted to water

A hydrophile is a molecule or other molecular entity that is attracted to water molecules and tends to be dissolved by water.

In chemistry, a ring is an ambiguous term referring either to a simple cycle of atoms and bonds in a molecule or to a connected set of atoms and bonds in which every atom and bond is a member of a cycle. A ring system that is a simple cycle is called a monocycle or simple ring, and one that is not a simple cycle is called a polycycle or polycyclic ring system. A simple ring contains the same number of sigma bonds as atoms, and a polycyclic ring system contains more sigma bonds than atoms.

Methylene group

In organic chemistry, a methylene group is any part of a molecule that consists of two hydrogen atoms bound to a carbon atom, which is connected to the remainder of the molecule by two single bonds. The group may be represented as CH2<, where the '<' denotes the two bonds. This can equally well be represented as −CH2−.

A descriptor is in chemical nomenclature a prefix placed before the systematic substance name, which describes the configuration or the stereochemistry of the molecule. Some listed descriptors are only of historical interest and should not be used in publications anymore as they do not correspond with the modern recommendations of the IUPAC. Stereodescriptors are often used in combination with locants to clearly identify a chemical structure unambiguously.


  1. 1 2 IUPAC , Compendium of Chemical Terminology , 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version: (2006) " moiety ". doi : 10.1351/goldbook.M03968
  2. 1 2 "Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry - Moiety". Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  3. IUPAC , Compendium of Chemical Terminology , 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version: (2006) " functional group ". doi : 10.1351/goldbook.F02555
  4. "CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". United States Food and Drug Administration. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  5. "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 21: Food and Drugs § 314.3". Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. United States Government Publishing Office. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019. Active moiety is the molecule or ion, excluding those appended portions of the molecule that cause the drug to be an ester, salt (including a salt with hydrogen or coordination bonds), or other noncovalent derivative (such as a complex, chelate, or clathrate) of the molecule, responsible for the physiological or pharmacological action of the drug substance.