Concept introduced by L. Pauling as the power
of an atom to attract electrons to itself. There are several definitions of this
quantity. According to Mulliken it is the average of the ionization energy
and electron affinity
of an atom, but more frequently a relative scale due to Pauling is used where dimensionless
relative electronegativity differences are defined on the basis of bond dissociation
expressed in electronvolts:
The scale is chosen so as to make the relative electronegativity of hydrogen
The sign of the square root was chosen intuitively by Pauling.
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077
(Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994))
on page 1111
IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by
A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997).
XML on-line corrected version: http://goldbook.iupac.org (2006-) created by M. Nic,
J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8. https://doi.org/10.1351/goldbook