[men-thawl, -thol]


Also called hexahydrothymol, peppermint camphor. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a colorless, crystalline, slightly water-soluble alcohol, C10H20O, obtained from peppermint oil or synthesized: used chiefly in perfumes, confections, cigarettes, and liqueurs and in medicine for colds and nasal disorders for its cooling effect on mucous membranes.
a mentholated cigarette.


containing menthol; mentholated.

Origin of menthol

1875–80; < New Latin Menth(a) (see mint1) + -ol1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of menthol

British Dictionary definitions for menthol



an optically active organic compound found in peppermint oil and used as an antiseptic, in inhalants, and as an analgesic. Formula: C 10 H 20 O

Word Origin for menthol

C19: from German, from Latin mentha mint 1
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 menthol

white crystalline substance, 1862, from German Menthol, coined 1861 by Alphons Oppenheim from Latin mentha "mint" (see mint (n.1)) + oleum "oil" (see oil (n.)). So called because it was first obtained from oil of peppermint.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for menthol




A white crystalline organic compound obtained from peppermint oil or synthesized and used as a mild topical anesthetic.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for menthol



A white, crystalline compound obtained from peppermint oil. It is used as a flavoring and as a mild anesthetic. Chemical formula: C10H20O.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.