[L. aceium, vinegar; acidus,sonr.] The most common of the vegetable acids, familiar to all as the sour principle in vinegar. It occurs in the juice of many plants, and in some animal secretions; but on the large scale it is prepared from damaged wines, by the fermentation of malt, or by the destructive distillation of wood. Pure acetic acid is prepared by the dry distillation of wood. The pure acid has a sour taste and a pungent smell, is poisonous, and burns the skin. In the arts it is used as a mordant in calico-printing, and in the preparation of certain varnishes. It is also used as a condiment and in medicine. The salts of acetic acid are called acetates, the most important of them being acetate or sugar of lead.