-ine is a suffix used in chemistry to denote two kinds of substance. The first is a chemically basic and alkaloidal substance. It was proposed by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac in an editorial accompanying a paper by Friedrich Sertürner describing the isolation of the alkaloid "morphium", which was subsequently renamed to "morphine".[1] Examples include quinine, morphine and guanidine.[2] The second usage is to denote a hydrocarbon of the second degree of unsaturation. Examples include hexine and heptine.[2] With simple hydrocarbons, this usage is identical to the IUPAC suffix -yne.

In common and literary adjectives (e.g. asinine, canine, feline, ursine), the suffix is usually pronounced /n/ or in some words alternatively /ɪn/. For demonyms (e.g. Levantine, Byzantine, Argentine) it is usually /n/ or /n/. But in chemistry, it is usually pronounced /n/ or /ɪn/ depending on the word it appears in and the accent of the speaker. In a few words (for example, quinine, iodine and strychnine), the /n/ sound is normal in some accents. Gasoline ends with /n/; glycerine more often with /ɪn/ than with /n/. In caffeine, the suffix has merged with the e in the root, for stressed /ˈn/; in gasoline and margarine as well the suffix is stressed by some people.

Some elements of the periodic table (namely the halogens, in the Group 17) have this suffix: fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I) and astatine (At), ending which was continued in the artificially created tennessine (Ts).

The suffix -in (/ɪn/) is etymologically related and overlaps in usage with -ine. Many proteins and lipids have names ending with -in: for example, the enzymes pepsin and trypsin, the hormones insulin and gastrin, and the lipids stearin (stearine) and olein.


  1. ^ Sneader W. (2005). Drug Discovery: A History, pp. 90-91. Wiley.
  2. ^ a b "Definition -ine". Centre for Cancer Education. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2008-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)