Definition of rosin in US English:


nounPlural rosins

  • Resin, especially the solid amber residue obtained after the distillation of crude turpentine oleoresin, or of naphtha extract from pine stumps. It is used in adhesives, varnishes, and inks and for treating the bows of stringed instruments.

    • ‘Marina was only half-listening as she took Shell's rosin box and ran the hard, translucent, amber colored rosin along the hairs.’
    • ‘He began to put away his cello, wiping large deposits of white powdery rosin from the strings and bow with a silky cloth.’
    • ‘Linoleum, made from all-natural materials including linseed oil and pine rosin, is a low-cost and maintenance-free choice.’
    • ‘In the aquatint process, areas covered by rosin powder become pitted when immersed in an acid bath.’
    • ‘The hair must be tensioned and be rubbed with rosin or a similar compound to grip the string.’

verbrosined, rosining, rosins

[with object]
  • Rub (something, especially a violin bow or string) with rosin.

    ‘island musicians are rosining their bows’
    • ‘An instrument with strings sounded by a rosined wheel instead of a bow.’
    • ‘For the adventurous players, home made bows of rosined string or even fishing line will suffice.’
    • ‘Once open she proceeds to pull out the violin and rosin her bow.’
    • ‘As Shelley talked happily about the viola player and rosining her bow, Marina plucked the strings softly - A, D, G, up to E - tuning quietly with the fine tuners.’
    • ‘The harp is played by pulling down the length of a string with rosined gloves.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin rosina, from Latin resina (see resin).