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Medical Definition of MOLECULAR FORMULA. : a chemical formula for a compound existing as discrete molecules that gives the total number of atoms of each element in a molecule <the molecular formula for water is H2O>—see structural formula; compare empirical formula. For example, the empirical formula of ethanol may be written C2H6O because the molecules of ethanol all contain two carbon atoms, six hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. Some types of ionic compounds, however, cannot be written with entirely whole-number empirical formulas.
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