The basic definition of an inorganic compound is any substance in which two or more elements, other than carbon, combine. Compounds containing carbon typically are classified as organic, with the exception of carbides, carbonates and cyanides, rendering the distinction between organic and inorganic compounds a bit murky in some situations.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry establishes definitions for chemical terms. Despite being charged with this task, the Union has yet to define the terms "inorganic compounds" or "organic compounds." Some scientific disciplines delineate inorganic compounds as non-living and organic compounds as living. Water is a prime example of an inorganic compound.