In organic chemistry, alcohols are a functional group where a hydroxy (-OH) group is bound to a saturated carbon. If the hydroxy group is bound to an aromatic ring, the functional group is called a phenol. See examples of an alcohol and phenol in Figure 1. Note that phenol is both the name of the functional group, and the simplest compound within this group.

Ethanol has the structure, C H 3, C H 2, O H. Phenol is a 6 membered carbon ring with an alcohol side group, C 6, H 5, O H. Phenol has 3 carbon carbon double bonds.

Figure 1. Structures of ethanol and phenol.