Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[tol-yoo-een] /ˈtɒl yuˌin/
noun, Chemistry.
a colorless, water-insoluble, flammable liquid, C 7 H 8 , having a benzenelike odor, obtained chiefly from coal tar and petroleum: used as a solvent in the manufacture of benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, TNT, and other organic compounds.
Origin of toluene
First recorded in 1870-75; tolu + -ene Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for toluene
Historical Examples
  • What then is the effect of toluene on the living yeast-cell?

    Alcoholic Fermentation Arthur Harden
  • It is possible to start from benzene, toluene or naphthalene.

    Creative Chemistry

    Edwin E. Slosson
  • Besides a cymene and a toluene, which have already been shown to exist in rosin spirit, metaxylene was found to be present.

  • That phenomena of this kind may be involved is shown by the remarkable effect of toluene on the autofermentation of yeast.

    Alcoholic Fermentation Arthur Harden
  • For the first six months only toluene sling thermometers were used.

  • A solution of hydrogen chloride in a poorly ionizing medium, like benzene or toluene, is an extremely poor conductor.

  • Other dyes derived directly or indirectly from phenol will take us back once again to toluene.

    Coal Raphael Meldola
  • From benzene and toluene alone about forty distinct colouring-matters of the rosaniline group are sent into commerce.

    Coal Raphael Meldola
  • Already we see that benzene, toluene, solvent naphtha, and burning naphtha are separated from them.

    Coal Raphael Meldola
  • Now let us consider some of the transformations which benzene and toluene undergo in the hands of the manufacturing chemist.

    Coal Raphael Meldola
British Dictionary definitions for toluene


a colourless volatile flammable liquid with an odour resembling that of benzene, obtained from petroleum and coal tar and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of many organic chemicals. Formula: C6H5CH3
Word Origin
C19: from tolu + -ene, since it was previously obtained from tolu
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for toluene

colorless liquid hydrocarbon, 1871, from German toluin (Berzelius, 1842), from Tolu, place in Colombia (now Santiago de Tolu) from which balsam of Tolu was obtained from the bark of certain trees. The chemical so called because it was first distilled from balsam of Tolu.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
toluene in Science
A clear, toxic, flammable liquid that is used in fuels, explosives, dyes, medicines, and many industrial chemicals. Toluene consists of a methyl group attached to benzene. Also called methylbenzene. Chemical formula: C7H8.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for toluene

Word Value for toluene

Scrabble Words With Friends