One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several isomeric pentahydric alcohols of the formula CH₂OH·(CHOH)₃·CH₂OH, derived from pentose sugars and often present in plant tissues, such as arabitol, ribitol, and xylitol.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Julius Berend Cohen (1859–1935). From pent- + -itol.
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