[ tur-peen ]
/ ˈtɜr pin /

noun Chemistry.

(originally) any of a class of monocyclic hydrocarbons of the formula C10H16, obtained from plants.
this class or any of its oxygenated derivatives, any hydrocarbon from the same source having the formula C5H8(hemiterpene ), the formula C10H16 with an aliphatic structure (acyclic terpene )or two-ringed structure(bicyclic terpene ), the formula C15H24(sesquiterpene ), etc., and any of their oxygenated derivatives.

Origin of terpene

1865–70; alteration of terebene, with p from turpentine


ter·pene·less, adjectiveter·pe·nic [tur-pee-nik], /tɜrˈpi nɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for terpene

British Dictionary definitions for terpene

/ (ˈtɜːpiːn) /


any one of a class of unsaturated hydrocarbons, such as the carotenes, that are found in the essential oils of many plants. Their molecules contain isoprene units and have the general formula (C 5 H 8) n

Derived forms of terpene

terpenic, adjective

Word Origin for terpene

C19: terp- from obsolete terpentine turpentine + -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

Medical definitions for terpene

[ tûrpēn′ ]


Any of various unsaturated hydrocarbons in essential oils and certain resins of plants and used in organic syntheses.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for terpene

[ tûrpēn′ ]

Any of a class of hydrocarbons consisting of two or more isoprene (C5H8) units joined together. Simple terpenes are found in the essential oils and resins of plants such as conifers. Turpentine, for example, is such an oil. More complex terpenes include vitamin A, carotenoid pigments (such as lycopene), squalene, and rubber. Terpenes are used in organic synthesis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.