The word "acrylic" comes from the Latin "acrolein," meaning "a sharp smell," and was named for the odor released during production. An acrylic is a chemical substance derived from acrylic acid, and is manufactured in a number of chemical compositions.
Acrylics can be manufactured in a number of forms, including synthetic fiber, resin, rubber and glass-like plastic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). In the form of PMMA it is a transparent thermoplastic often used as a substitute for glass. Acrylic can also be used to denote a type of fast-drying paint used by artists, which consists of pigment in an emulsion of acrylic polymer.