Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

polystyrene

[pol-ee-stahy-reen, -steer-een]
noun Chemistry.
  1. a clear plastic or stiff foam, a polymer of styrene, used chiefly as an insulator in refrigerators and air conditioners.
Show More

Origin of polystyrene

First recorded in 1925–30; poly- + styrene
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for polystyrene

polystyrene

noun
  1. a synthetic thermoplastic material obtained by polymerizing styrene; used as a white rigid foam (expanded polystyrene) for insulating and packing and as a glasslike material in light fittings and water tanks
Show More
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 polystyrene

n.

1922, so called because it is a polymer of styrene.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polystyrene in Science

polystyrene

[pŏl′ē-stīrēn]
  1. A brittle synthetic polymer composed of repeated styrene units. Polystyrene is transparent and rigid because the benzene rings in each styrene unit prevent the polystyrene chains from arranging themselves into a tight crystalline structure. Polystyrene has a wide variety of uses, especially as a solid foam for insulation and packaging.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.