[ ben-zeen, ben-zeen ]
/ ˈbɛn zin, bɛnˈzin /

noun Chemistry.

a colorless, volatile, flammable, toxic, slightly water-soluble, liquid, aromatic compound, C6H6, obtained chiefly from coal tar: used in the manufacture of commercial and medicinal chemicals, dyes, and as a solvent for resins, fats, or the like.

Origin of benzene

First recorded in 1825–35; benz(oic acid) + -ene Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for benzene

British Dictionary definitions for benzene


/ (ˈbɛnziːn, bɛnˈziːn) /


a colourless flammable toxic aromatic liquid used in the manufacture of styrene, phenol, etc, as a solvent for fats, resins, etc, and as an insecticide. Formula: C 6 H 6See also benzene ring
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

Word Origin and History for benzene



1835, benzine, altered from German Benzin, coined in 1833 by German chemist Eilhardt Mitscherlich (1794-1863) from Benz(oesäure) "benzoic acid" + -ene (German -in), hydrocarbon suffix. Mitscherlich obtained it from a distillation of benzoic acid, obtained from benzoin. The form benzene dates from 1872 in English. In 19c. it also sometimes was called benzol. Faraday was first to discover the compound (in fish oil) and called it bicarburet of hydrogen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for benzene


[ bĕnzēn′, bĕn-zēn ]


A clear, colorless, highly refractive flammable liquid derived from petroleum and used in or to manufacture a wide variety of chemical products, including DDT, insecticides, and motor fuels.benzine
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for benzene


[ bĕnzēn′ ]

A colorless flammable liquid derived from petroleum. Benzene is used to make detergents, insecticides, motor fuels, and many other chemical products. Chemical formula: C6H6. See more at benzene ring.
Related formsbenzyl adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.