Definition of benzoin in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbenzōən/


1 (also gum benzoin) A fragrant gum resin obtained from a tropical tree of eastern Asia, used in medicines, perfumes, and incense. Also called gum benjamin.
  • This is obtained from several species of the genus Styrax, family Styracaceae, in particular S. benzoin.
Example sentences
  • Maceration is the only feasible method of producing a tincture from an unorganized drug such as gum benzoin or propolis resin.
  • When the mixture begins to cool, add twelve drops of lemon juice and six drops of tincture of benzoin, while still continuing to stir.
  • With every step a new aroma seemed to leap out of the darkness - succulent summer flowers here, earthy woods there, benzoin, pumpkin spice even.
2 Chemistry A white crystalline aromatic ketone present in gum benzoin.
  • Alternative name: 2-hydroxy-1,2-diphenylethanone; chemical formula: C6H5CHOHCOC6H5.
Example sentences
  • Although benzoin and benzoic acid had been called aromatics before 1820, it was not until the 1850s that benzene and its derivatives were placed in the chemical family of aromatics.
  • Benzoin and its derivatives are used as intermediates for the synthesis of organic compounds and as catalysts in photopolymerization.
  • Stereochemically and functionally rich polycyclic compounds are obtained by the first crossed aldehyde-ketone benzoin reaction in excellent yield under mild reaction conditions.


Mid 16th century: from French benjoin, based on Arabic lubānjāwī 'incense of Java'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ben·zo·in

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