Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A balsamic resin obtained from certain tropical Asian trees of the genus Styrax and used in perfumery and medicine. Also called benjamin, gum benjamin, gum benzoin.
  • n. A white or yellowish crystalline compound, C14H12O2, derived from benzaldehyde.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A resinous substance, dry and brittle, obtained from the Styrax benzoin, a tree of Sumatra, Java, etc., having a fragrant odor, and slightly aromatic taste. It is used in the preparation of benzoic acid, in medicine, and as a perfume.
  • n. A white crystalline substance, C14H12O2, obtained from benzoic aldehyde and some other sources.
  • n. The spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Gum benjamin; the concrete resinous juice of Styrax Benzoin, a tree of Sumatra, Java, and the Malay peninsula, obtained by incisions into the bark.
  • n. [capitalized] A genus of aromatic dicotyledonous trees or shrubs of the family Lauraceæ. See Lindera.
  • n. A compound, C6H5CHOHCOC6H5, formed when benzaldehyde is boiled with alcohol containing a little potassium cyanide. It melts at 130° C. and boils at 344° C. Also diphenylethanolone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. used in some classifications for the American spicebush and certain other plants often included in the genus Lindera
  • n. gum resin used especially in treating skin irritation

Etymologies

Earlier benjoin, from French benjoin and Italian benzoino, both from Arabic lubān jāwī, frankincense of Java; see lbn in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French benjoin, from Spanish benjuí, Portuguese beijoin, Italian benzoi, from Arabic لبان جاوي (lubān jāwī, "Javanese frankincense"). The initial lu was probably lost because it was taken as the definite article in Romance. Compare oliban. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Coromandel - "an oriental fragrance using a tree resin called benzoin, which has vanilla-like properties"...

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • There are sweet resins and balsams namely benzoin and labdanum, a subtle, sexy musk, and a most definite note of castoreum paired with civet.

    Cuir de Russie

  • To that amber base I would like to add a tad of smoky-resinous notes of Choya Loban the distractive distillation of benzoin, meaning it is left ot burn and scortch a little in the process, to produce a wonderfully smoky burnt caramel scent.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • As large vessels can sail up to the town, it is a trade centre for the products of the districts along the banks of the Barito and Martapura, such as benzoin, rattans, wax, gold, diamonds, iron and weapons.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy"

  • For his new fragrance, he explodes the notion of a shrinking violet with a lavish list of fancy floral notes like violet leaf, ultra-rare Tuscan orris root and a touch of benzoin and musk. $100, saks.com

    Naughty and Nice

  • Her body rose and fell in waves below her dress like the rolls of a piece of brocade, and her navel would hold an ounce of benzoin ointment.

    Firas Al-Atraqchi: Egypt: Group seeks to ban A Thousand and One Arabian Nights

  • I want to make an Avacado soap and it calls for benzoin powder ... will citric acid or vitamin e work instead?

    Great use of color & stamping

  • I think maybe the soap making book I picked up was a few years old (the complete soapmaker-paperback - norma coney 96) but her book seemed so much more informative than the newer books which put me into overload ... but then again that was the first time I came across the benzoin.

    Great use of color & stamping

  • Additionally, benzoin oil generally has a range of very potent chemical solvents to make it pourable.

    Great use of color & stamping

  • The benzoin I do get, but the wood and vanilla are very faint.

    Archive 2009-03-01

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "...he felt in his roll for the offerings that Liu Liang ... had told him would be acceptable, a long thick silk-skinned sausage of delicate tea, a long thick leather-skinned sausage of benzoin."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Thirteen Gun Salute, 225

    March 5, 2008