One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A yellow, crystalline hydrocarbon, C₂₀H₁₂, whose molecule consists of five fused aromatic rings, which occurs in coal tar and from which certain organic pigments are derived.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Journal of the Chemical Society. From German Perylen, shortened from peri-Di-naphthylen from peri- relating to the 1,8-positions on the naphthalene ring system + di- + Naphthylen naphthylene: see -ene.
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