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noun Also called colophony.
  1. Chemistry. the yellowish to amber, translucent, hard, brittle, fragmented resin left after distilling the oil of turpentine from the crude oleoresin of the pine: used chiefly in making varnishes, varnish and paint driers, printing inks, and for rubbing on the bows of such string instruments as the violin.
  2. resin.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cover or rub with rosin.

Origin of rosin

1300–50; Middle English < Old French, variant of resine resin
Related formsros·in·y, adjective
Can be confusedresin rosin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rosin


  1. Also called: colophony a translucent brittle amber substance produced in the distillation of crude turpentine oleoresin and used esp in making varnishes, printing inks, and sealing waxes and for treating the bows of stringed instruments
  2. (not in technical usage) another name for resin (def. 1)
  1. (tr) to treat or coat with rosin
Derived Formsrosiny, adjective

Word Origin for rosin

C14: variant of resin
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 rosin

late 13c., from Old French raisine, rousine, variants of résine (see resin). The verb is from mid- 14c. Related: Rosined; rosining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rosin in Medicine


  1. A translucent yellowish to dark brown resin derived from the stumps or sap of various pine trees and used as an adhesive in plasters and as a stimulant in ointments.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.