Definition of benzoin in English:



mass noun
  • 1A fragrant gum resin obtained from a tropical East Asian tree, used in medicines, perfumes, and incense.

    This is obtained from several species of the genus Styrax (family Styracaceae), in particular S. benzoin

    Also called "gum benjamin"
    • ‘Bismuth or benzoin should not be applied until after the laser has been shut down completely.’
    • ‘When the mixture begins to cool, add twelve drops of lemon juice and six drops of tincture of benzoin, while still continuing to stir.’
    • ‘Then we added the addiction of patchouli, the softness of benzoin and the creaminess of sandalwood.’
    • ‘Maceration is the only feasible method of producing a tincture from an unorganized drug such as gum benzoin or propolis resin.’
    • ‘With every step a new aroma seemed to leap out of the darkness - succulent summer flowers here, earthy woods there, benzoin, pumpkin spice even.’
  • 2Chemistry
    A white crystalline aromatic ketone present in benzoin resin.

    Chemical formula: C₆H₅CHOHCOC₆H₅

    • ‘Although benzoin and benzoic acid had been called aromatics before 1820, it was not until the 1850s that benzene and its derivatives were placed in the chemical family of aromatics.’
    • ‘Stereochemically and functionally rich polycyclic compounds are obtained by the first crossed aldehyde-ketone benzoin reaction in excellent yield under mild reaction conditions.’
    • ‘The benzoin molecule has a C=O bond as well, but bonded to two other carbons, thus it is a ketone.’
    • ‘Benzoin and its derivatives are used as intermediates for the synthesis of organic compounds and as catalysts in photopolymerization.’
    • ‘Typical examples are aromatic ketones such as acetophenone, benzophenone, benzoin ethyl ether and benzyl dimethyl ketal.’


Mid 16th century: from French benjoin, based on Arabic lubānjāwī ‘incense of Java’.