Definition of xylene in English:

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xylene

Pronunciation: /ˈzīlēn/

noun

Chemistry
A volatile liquid hydrocarbon obtained by distilling wood, coal tar, or petroleum, and used in fuels and solvents, and in chemical synthesis.
  • Alternative name: dimethylbenzene; chemical formula: C6H4(CH3)2; three isomers.
Example sentences
  • Petroleum fuels contain several toxic compounds, including benzene, toluene and xylene - all considered carcinogens.
  • Fuels such as petroleum are mixtures of various hydrocarbons, and may contain benzene, toluene, xylene, and styrene, and other components.
  • If you do insist on using solvents, avoid low-flash point solvents like gasoline, xylene, lacquer thinner, etc. which are dangerously flammable.

Origin

Mid 19th century: from xylo- 'of wood' + -ene.

More
  • xylophone from mid 19th century:

    This is the only common word formed from Greek xylo- ‘wood’, although it is common enough in science in words such as xylene (mid 19th century) a hydrocarbon made from distilled wood, and archaeologists can describe a single lump of wood as monoxylic (mid 19th century) on the model of monolithic (mid 19th century) for ‘single stone’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: xy·lene

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