[mass noun] A colourless liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum and used as a solvent and in organic synthesis.
- ‘The raw materials for today's dyes are mainly aromatic hydrocarbons: benzene, toluene, naphthalene, anthracene, pyrene, and others.’
- ‘The powdered bark can also be treated with solvents, such as toluene, or amyl alcohol to extract the quinine.’
- ‘In a second method, toluene is mixed with nitric acid and oxidized to produce benzoic acid.’
- ‘In combination with nitric acid, toluene gives trinitrotoluene.’
- ‘Toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and methyl benzene were included in the list.’
Late 19th century: from tolu + -ene.