You must have been exposed to the nature of alcohols in 1st-semester organic chemistry.
Alcohols and phenols have an electronegative oxygen bonded to a H atom (i.e. hydroxyl group). As a result, its reactivity is consistent with it behaving like an acid or a base. Alcohols are somewhat acidic having a pKa=16. Phenols on the other hand are much more acidic as phenol has a pKa=10 (i.e. about 106 times more acidic).
In alcohols, but not phenols, the -OH can also be "activated" wherein it is converted to a better leaving group. This results in substitution and elimination reactions.
Alcohols have rather high boiling points in comparison to similar compounds because of their ability to hydrogen bond.