Definition of paraben in English:



  • Any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and in the food industry.

    • ‘She also reported that, in one study, a paraben was injected under the skin and was found to have an " oestrogenic response on uterine tissues ".’
    • ‘The family's common names follow the standard alkane hydrocarbon sequence: methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben, etc.’
    • ‘Paraben is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer, and is found in cosmetics like deodorants, body sprays and shampoos.’
    • ‘I have done a bit of homespun research of my own into this group of compounds, of which there are five: butyl, ethyl, isobutyl, methyl and propyl paraben.’
    • ‘Twenty breast tumours have been found to contain high concentrations of paraben, a chemical that mimics estrogen in the body.’


1950s: from para- + ( hydroxy)ben(zoic).