Organic Chemistry Portal

Name Reactions

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Acetoacetic Ester Condensation

Acetoacetic Ester Synthesis

Acyloin Condensation

Alder-Ene Reaction

Aldol Addition

Aldol Condensation

Appel Reaction

Arbuzov Reaction

Arndt-Eistert Synthesis

Azide-Alkyne 1,3-Dipolar Cycloaddition

Azo Coupling


Baeyer-Villiger Oxidation

Baker-Venkataraman Rearrangement

Balz-Schiemann Reaction

Bamford-Stevens Reaction

Barton Decarboxylation

Barton-McCombie Reaction (Barton Desoxygenation)

Baylis-Hillman Reaction

Beckmann Rearrangement

Benzilic Acid Rearrangement

Benzoin Condensation

Bergman Cyclization

Bestmann-Ohira Reagent

Biginelli Reaction

Birch Reduction

Bischler-Napieralski Reaction

Blaise Reaction

Blanc Reaction

Bohlmann-Rahtz Pyridine Synthesis

Boronic Acid Mannich Reaction

Bouveault-Blanc Reduction

Brook Rearrangement

Brown Hydroboration

Bucherer-Bergs Reaction

Buchwald-Hartwig Cross Coupling Reaction


Cadiot-Chodkiewicz Coupling

Cannizzaro Oxidation Reduction

CBS Reduction

Chan-Lam Coupling

Claisen Condensation

Claisen Rearrangement

Clemmensen Reduction

Click Chemistry

Collins Reagent

Cope Elimination

Cope Rearrangement

Conia-Ene Reaction

Corey-Bakshi-Shibata Reduction

Corey-Chaykovsky Reaction

Corey-Fuchs Reaction

Corey-Kim Oxidation

Corey-Seebach Reaction

Corey-Suggs Reagent

Corey-Winter Olefin Synthesis

Coumarin Synthesis

Criegee Mechanism for Ozonolysis

Cross Metathesis

Curtius Rearrangement (Reaction)


Dakin Reaction

Darzens Condensation

Darzens Reaction

Davis Oxidation

De Kimpe Aziridine Synthesis

Delépine Reaction

Dess-Martin Oxidation


Dieckmann Condensation

Diels-Alder Reaction

1,3-Dipolar Cycloaddition

Directed ortho Metalation

Doebner Modification


Eglinton Reaction

Ene Reaction

Enyne Metathesis


Eschweiler-Clarke Reaction

Ester Pyrolysis



Favorskii Reaction

Finkelstein Reaction

Fischer Esterification

Fischer Indole Synthesis

Fleming-Tamao Oxidation

Friedel-Crafts Acylation

Friedel-Crafts Alkylation

Friedlaender Synthesis

Fries Rearrangement

Fukuyama Coupling

Fukuyama Reduction


Gabriel Synthesis

Gewald Reaction

Glaser Coupling

Griesbaum Coozonolysis

Grignard Reaction

Grubbs Reaction


Haloform Reaction

Hantzsch Dihydropyridine Synthesis (Pyridine Synthesis)

Hay Coupling

Heck Reaction

Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky Reaction

Henry Reaction

Hiyama Coupling

Hiyama-Denmark Coupling

Hofmann Elimination

Hofmann's Rule

Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons Reaction

Hosomi-Sakurai Reaction

Huisgen Cycloaddition

Hunsdiecker Reaction



Ireland-Claisen Rearrangement

Itsuno-Corey Reduction

Iwanow Reaction (Reagent)


Jacobsen Epoxidation

Jacobsen-Katsuki Epoxidation

Jocic Reaction

Johnson-Corey-Chaykovsky Reaction

Jones Oxidation

Julia-Lythgoe Olefination

Julia-Kocienski Olefination


Kabachnik-Fields Reaction

Kindler Reaction

Knoevenagel Condensation

Kochi Reaction

Kolbe Electrolysis

Kolbe Nitrile Synthesis

Kolbe-Schmitt Reaction

Koser's Reagent

Kowalski Ester Homologation

Kulinkovich Reaction

Kulinkovich-de Meijere Reaction

Kulinkovich-Szymoniak Reaction

Kumada Coupling


Lawesson's Reagent

Leuckart Thiophenol Reaction

Luche Reduction


Malonic Ester Synthesis

Mannich Reaction

Markovnikov's Rule

McMurry Reaction

Meerwein-Ponndorf-Verley Reduction

Myers' Modification of the Ramberg-Bäcklund Reaction

Myers-Saito Cyclization

Michael Addition

Michaelis-Arbuzov Reaction

Mitsunobu Reaction

Miyaura Borylation Reaction

Modified Julia Olefination

Mukaiyama Aldol Addition


Nazarov Cyclization

Nef Reaction

Negishi Coupling

Newman-Kwart Rearrangement

Nitroaldol Reaction

Nozaki-Hiyama Coupling

Nucleophilic Substitution (SN1 / SN2)


O'Donnell Amino Acid Synthesis

Ohira-Bestmann Reagent

Olefin Metathesis

Oppenauer Oxidation

Overman Rearrangement

Oxy-Cope Rearrangement



Paal-Knorr Furan Synthesis

Paal-Knorr Pyrrole Synthesis

Paal-Knorr Thiophene Synthesis

Passerini Reaction

Paterno-Büchi Reaction

Pauson-Khand Reaction

Pechmann Condensation

Petasis Reaction

Peterson Olefination

Pinacol Coupling Reaction

Pinacol Rearrangement

Pinner Reaction

Prévost Reaction

Prilezhaev Reaction

Prins Reaction

Pschorr Reaction



Ramberg-Bäcklund Reaction

Reformatsky Reaction

Ring Closing Metathesis

Ring Opening Metathesis (Polymerization)

Ritter Reaction

Robinson Annulation

Rosenmund Reduction

Rosenmund-von Braun Reaction

Rubottom Oxidation


Sakurai Reaction

Sandmeyer Reaction

Saytzeff's Rule

Schiemann Reaction

Schlosser Modification

Schmidt Reaction

Schotten-Baumann Reaction

Seebach Umpolung

Seyferth-Gilbert Homologation

Sarett Reagent

Shapiro Reaction

Sharpless Aminohydroxylation

Sharpless Dihydroxylation

Sharpless Epoxidation

Shi Epoxidation

Simmons-Smith Reaction

Sonogashira Coupling

Staudinger Cycloaddition

Staudinger Reaction

Staudinger Reduction

Staudinger Synthesis

Steglich Esterification

Stetter Reaction

Stille Coupling

Strecker Synthesis

Suzuki Coupling

Swern Oxidation


Tamao-Kumada Oxidation

Tebbe Olefination

Tishchenko Reaction

Tsuji-Trost Reaction

Trost Allylation


Ugi Reaction

Ullmann Reaction

Upjohn Dihydroxylation


Van Leusen Imidazole Synthesis

Van Leusen Oxazole Synthesis

Van Leusen Reaction

Vicarious Nucleophilic Substitution

Vilsmeier Reaction


Wacker-Tsuji Oxidation

Weinreb Ketone Synthesis

Wenker Synthesis

Willgerodt-Kindler Reaction

Williamson Synthesis

Wittig-Horner Reaction

Wittig Reaction

[1,2]-Wittig Rearrangement

[2,3]-Wittig Rearrangement

Wohl-Ziegler Reaction

Wolff-Kishner Reduction

Wolff Rearrangement

Woodward cis-Hydroxylation

Woodward Reaction

Wurtz Reaction

Wurtz-Fittig Reaction



Yamaguchi Esterification


Why are there Name Reactions?

Name reactions honor the discoverers of groundbreaking chemical reactions or refinements of earlier known transformations in the way that many scientists have their names attached to an effect or a phenomenon, an equation, a constant, etc. In some cases, the person whose name is associated with the reaction was not the first to discover the reaction, but instead managed to popularize it. Reaction names can also simply describe the reaction type, often by using the initials or referring to structural features.

As an example, a very important field in chemical synthesis is carbon-carbon bond formation, and a great many name reactions exist that describe such transformations. In this field, the development of a procedure for using organomagnesium compounds by Victor Grignard led to totally new addition reactions that expanded the scope of organic synthesis tremendously. In a historical twist, Grignard was not the first to use such reagents but rather simplified the procedure by generating the highly reactive reagent in situ. This popularized the use of the related transformations, which had previously been quite tedious as the sensitive organomagnesium reagents needed to be prepared separately and stored. What we now know as Grignard reagents are most often used in additions to carbonyl compounds that provide alcohols or other products in high yields, and this process is nowadays referred to as the Grignard reaction. In another important case, many C-C bond forming reactions are promoted by palladium catalysis, which results in a more efficient use of reagents and more readily accessible conditions. An example is the synthesis of biaryl moieties, substructures that occur frequently in compounds of interest in medicinal chemistry. As an indication of how useful these reactions are, the named reactions for many variants of these palladium-catalyzed biaryl coupling reactions became current within just a few years after discovery, even during lifetime of the respective authors, such as (Makoto) Kumada, (John Kenneth, or J.K.) Stille and (Akira) Suzuki coupling. Other chemists, who develop specific variants or improvements or hybrid conditions, have their names are appended as in the Kumada-Tamao-Corriu coupling.

In addition to the use of the names of chemists, we also have groundbreaking reactions that come to be known by abbreviations of a descriptive name, such as "RCM" (ring-closing metathesis) or INOC (intramolecular nitrile oxide cyclization). We seldom use the name of the chemist who developed RCM (Robert Grubbs) to refer to the reaction, but his contribution is instead acknowledged by applying his name to the ruthenium-catalysts used. Thus, we speak of the "Grubbs catalyst" or "2nd generation Grubbs catalyst". Besides names such as "RCM", some frequently used reactions are named for structural features of the precursor or product. Examples include the "aldol reaction" ("aldol" is an abbreviation of a compound that contains both aldehyde and alcohol functionalities) or the "pinacol rearrangement".

Why must we learn dozens (or hundreds!) of name reactions?

As mentioned above, name reactions are used to refer to groundbreaking reactions or the associated mechanisms or principles that are worthwhile knowing and keeping straight. Just as physicians must learn the names of organs and geologists the names of minerals, chemists or students of chemistry use name reactions as a way to organize their knowledge and communicate about chemical transformations. In laboratory discussions, people very often use name reactions to refer to experiments they are running or the chemical problems they are investigating. The name reaction is a type of shorthand that avoids the need to give a lengthier explanation of the features of a particular transformation of interest. Mentioning the name reaction allows a knowledgeable listener to bring to mind the possible substrates, reaction conditions, or mechanistic details. Everyone in the field is expected to know a basic set of name reactions by heart, and this makes discussions less time-consuming. In this way, name reactions have become part of the shared vocabulary of organic synthesis chemists. When meeting a fellow chemist, for example at a conference or during a job interview, it is possible to make an initial assessment of your listener’s level and depth of expertise and experience by referring to an exotic name reaction. Such recognition can signal that a listener (or job candidate) has command of a particular area of chemistry. This means that he or she would be capable of understanding details of the synthetic routes in the work described, and could possibly develop alternatives.