Definition of sorbitan in US English:



  • usually as modifier Any of a group of compounds which are cyclic ethers derived from sorbitol or its derivatives.

    • ‘Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate is widely used as an emulsifier or solubilizer in a variety of foods, cosmetics and other commercial Products.’
    • ‘For mixed films containing sorbitan trioleate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monoleate, condensation is observed for films of nearly equimolar composition.’
    • ‘Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate was obtained from Aldrich Chemical Company (Milwaukee, WI).’
    • ‘However, again just glycerol, sorbitol and sorbitans were used in the capsule shell, because propylene glycol results in the above-described undesirable tackiness.’
    • ‘Therefore, it is inadvisable to add sorbitans to the solutions used in the investigation of the brain mechanisms.’


1930s: blend of sorbitol and anhydride.