Also called gum benjamin,gum benzoin. a reddish-brown, aromatic balsamic resin occurring in almondlike fragments and having a vanillalike odor, obtained from trees of the genus Styrax, especially S. benzoin, of Java, Sumatra, etc.: used in the manufacture of perfume and cosmetics and in medicine internally as an expectorant and externally as an antiseptic.
Also called benjamin, benjamin-bush. any plant belonging to the genus Lindera (Benzoin), of the laurel family, including the spicebush and similar aromatic plants.
Origin of benzoin
1550–60; earlier benjoin < Middle French < Portuguesebeijoim and Spanishbenjuí < Arabiclubān jāwī frankincense of Java (lu- probably constructed as the definite article); z of benzoin < Italianbenzoi ≪ Arabic
balsamic resin obtained from a tree (Styrax benzoin) of Indonesia, 1560s (earlier as bengewine, 1550s), from Middle French benjoin (16c.), which comes via Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian from Arabic luban jawi "incense of Java" (actually Sumatra, with which the Arabs confused it), with lu probably mistaken in Romance languages for a definite article. The English form with -z- is perhaps from influence of Italian benzoi (Venetian, 1461).