Definition of storax in English:


(also styrax)


  • 1mass noun A rare fragrant gum resin obtained from an East Mediterranean tree, sometimes used in medicine, perfumery, and incense.

    • ‘The perfume is a blend of peppermint, lavender, patchouli, atlas cedarwood, coffee, styrax, musk and tonka bean.’
    • ‘Many of today's perfume ingredients such as cassia, cinnamon, sandalwood, styrax, benzoin, jasmine, rose, and so on were used for incense by ancient Chinese, Indian or Egyptian cultures already 5000 years ago.’
    1. 1.1 A liquid balsam obtained from the Asian liquidambar tree.
      • ‘The bark is then pressed in cold water alternating with boiling water, and crude liquid storax obtained from this process is collected.’
      • ‘This storax resin is sometimes called liquid storax, because it comes in a pourable semi-liquid state, and is sold by the fluid ounce.’
      • ‘Externally, mixed with two or three parts of olive oil, liquid storax was found to be very effective as a local remedy in scabies.’
      • ‘This liquid storax has been confused with the storax of antiquity which came from the bark of the Styrax officinalis, a Mediterranean shrub.’
      • ‘It is named after the fragrant resin known as liquid storax, which is milked by making cuts in the bark.’
  • 2A tropical or subtropical tree or shrub with showy white flowers in drooping clusters.

    Genus Styrax, family Styracaceae: several species, in particular S. officinalis, from which storax resin is obtained

    • ‘Shrubs here are storax, beautyberry, and small-leaf viburnum.’
    • ‘Its ‘mother’ has always produced zillions of seeds and, until this baby bloomed, there were no other styraxes around.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, from a variant of Greek sturax.