Trivial Names


We're not saying that nomenclature is trivial, it takes a bit of getting used to. It's almost always possible to stuff up a nomenclature "guru" with a particularly nasty-looking molecule...

But trivial is a word that is used in nomenclature. "Trivial" names are the common names that do not follow the IUPAC systematic naming rules. Many trivial names are actually the correct names (e.g. toluene is correct, methylbenzene is not), while some trivial names just keep hanging around because that's what everyone learnt to call that molecule.

The reason trivial names exist is historical: as molecules were discovered, they were given a name. The names often have something to do with the compounds from which the new molecule was synthesised.

Trivial names that are acceptable (in fact preferred) under the IUPAC nomenclature system include:

vinyl acetate
methyl methacrylate

Additionally, there are some frequently used trivial names common in polymer chemistry for historical reasons:

ethylene (a.k.a ethene)