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A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. 
Cyanide is very reactive, forming simple salts with alkali earth cations and ionic complexes of varying strengths with numerous metal cations; the stability of these salts is dependent on the cation and on pH. The salts of sodium, potassium and calcium cyanide are quite toxic, as they are highly soluble in water, and thus readily dissolve to form free cyanide.  Hydrogen cyanide is a colourless gas with a faint, bitter, almond-like odour. Sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide are both white solids with a bitter, almond-like odour in damp air.