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Relatively large characteristic segment of a molecule
Benzyl acetate contains a benzyloxy moiety (encircled with light orange). It also contains an ester functional group (in red), and an acetyl functional group (encircled with dark green). Other divisions can be made.
Typically, the term is reserved to describe the larger and characteristic parts of organic molecules; and it should not be used to describe/name smaller functional groups of atoms, which chemically react in similar ways in most molecules containing them. Occasionally, moieties may be composed of yet smaller moieties and functional groups.
Moieties as branches that extend from the backbone of a hydrocarbon molecule are called substituents or side chains; typically, they can be broken off and substituted with others.
^"Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 21: Food and Drugs § 314.3". Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. United States Government Publishing Office. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 2019. Active moiety is the molecule or ion, excluding those appended portions of the molecule that cause the drug to be an ester, salt (including a salt with hydrogen or coordination bonds), or other noncovalent derivative (such as a complex, chelate, or clathrate) of the molecule, responsible for the physiological or pharmacological action of the drug substance.