what is acid

An acid is a molecule or ion capable of donating a hydron (proton or hydrogen ion H+), or, alternatively, capable of forming a covalent bond with an electron pair (a Lewis acid)

The first category of acids is the proton donors or Brønsted acids. In the special case of aqueous solutions, proton donors form the hydronium ion H3O+ and are known as Arrhenius acids. Brønsted and Lowry generalized the Arrhenius theory to include non-aqueous solvents. A Brønsted or Arrhenius acid usually contains a hydrogen atom bonded to a chemical structure that is still energetically favorable after loss of H+.

Aqueous Arrhenius acids have characteristic properties which provide a practical description of an acid. Acids form aqueous solutions with a sour taste, can turn blue litmus red, and react with bases and certain metals (like calcium) to form salts. The word acid is derived from the Latin acidus/acēre meaning sour. An aqueous solution of an acid has a pH less than 7 and is colloquially also referred to as ‘acid’ (as in ‘dissolved in acid’), while the strict definition refers only to the solute. A lower pH means a higher acidity, and thus a higher concentration of positive hydrogen ions in the solution. Chemicals or substances having the property of an acid are said to be acidic.