• synonyms


[stahy-reen, steer-een]
noun Chemistry.
  1. a colorless, water-insoluble liquid, C8H8, having a penetrating aromatic odor, usually prepared from ethylene and benzene or ethylbenzene, that polymerizes to a clear transparent material and copolymerizes with other materials to form synthetic rubbers.
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Compare polystyrene.

Origin of styrene

1880–85; styr- (shortened stem of styrax) + -ene
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for styrene


  1. a colourless oily volatile flammable water-insoluble liquid made from ethylene and benzene. It is an unsaturated compound and readily polymerizes: used in making synthetic plastics and rubbers. Formula: C 6 H 5 CH:CH 2See also polystyrene
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Word Origin for styrene

C20: from styr (ax) + -ene
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 styrene


colorless hydrocarbon, 1885, from Styrax, name of a genus of trees (the chemical is found in their resin), 1786, from Latin styrax, from Greek styrax, of Sem. origin (cf. Hebrew tsori "terebinth resin"). Form influenced by Greek styrax "shaft of a lance."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

styrene in Medicine


  1. A colorless oily liquid from which polystyrenes, plastics, and synthetic rubber are produced.vinylbenzene
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

styrene in Science


  1. A colorless, oily aromatic hydrocarbon that readily undergoes polymerization. It is used in making polystyrene, polyesters, synthetic rubber, and other products. Chemical formula: C8H8.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.