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

  • n. A white crystalline compound, C8H7N, obtained from coal tar or various plants and produced by the bacterial decomposition of tryptophan in the intestine. It is used in perfumery and as a reagent.
  • n. Any of various derivatives of this compound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An organic compound, C8H7N, found in coal tar, and produced in the gut by the bacterial decomposition of tryptophan; it is an aromatic bicyclic heterocycle having a benzene ring fused with a pyrrole ring; indole and its derivatives occur widely in nature and have many industrial applications.
  • n. Any of the derivatives of indole1.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A white, crystalline substance, C8H7N, obtained from blue indigo, and almost all indigo derivatives, by a process of reduction; chemically, it is 2,3-benzopyrrole, a bicyclic heterocyclic compound, having a benzene ring fused to a pyrrole ring. It is also formed from proteinaceous matter, together with skatol, by putrefaction, and by fusion with caustic potash, and is present in human excrement, as well as in the intestinal canal of some herbivora. It is produced in rich growth media by the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli.


ind(igo) + -ole.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From indigo and Latin oleum, “oil”; consider -ole. (Wiktionary)


  • The jasmine that grows in the microclimate of Grasse produces a very fine aroma - it is far lower in indole, which is higher in Indian Jasmine.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • Sarpa salpa, a species of sea bream now found in British waters, occasionally accumulates a powerful psychoactive compound called indole in its head, which can lead to ichthyoallyeinotoxism, or hallucinogenic fish poisoning.

    The Guardian World News

  • In order to bind to the DXE/XRE cluster, the AhR must first be ligand-activated, which can be achieved by employing specific synthetic chemicals such as indole-3-carbinole (I3C).

    PLoS ONE Alerts: New Articles

  • "In days one through three, we found precursors to indole, which is a really good sign.

    Science Blog - Science news straight from the source

  • Dimethyltryptamine is an indole-alkaloid derived from the shikimate pathway ...

    Enterprising chemistry majors at Georgetown

  • • To make a cheddar cheese flavor for string cheese, Ms. Wright used oleic acid, reminiscent of animal fat; capric acid, which smells like candle wax; indole, found in orange-flower scent; methional, a potato-like smell; and a hint of butyric acid, which "smells of vomit."

    The Tastemaker in Her Flavor Factory

  • Broccoli is packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, indole, glutathione and lutein, and is also a rich source of the trace metal chromium, which is a life extender and protects against the ravages of out-of-control insulin and blood sugar.

    Anti-ageing Foods

  • #2 Cruciferous vegetables -- radish, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, cabbage, turnips, turnip greens, contain indole - 3-carbinol, which lowers women's levels of a type of estrogen that may promote breast cancer. (16-hydroxy - estradiol and 16-hydroxy-estrone).

    Red meat raises risk of breast cancer in adolescence, but is not a risk in post-menopausal women, st

  • Most floral notes are rich with indole, a chemical that is actually found in human feces.

    Ayala's Aphrodisiac Guide

  • An overdose of indole is definitely off-putting; but it is this very molecule that makes jasmine smell so attractive and sensual.

    Ayala's Aphrodisiac Guide


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  • It occurs naturally in human feces and has an intense fecal odor. At very low concentrations, however, it has a flowery smell, and is a constituent of many flower scents (such as orange blossoms) and perfumes. It also occurs in coal tar. The name indole is a portmanteau of the words indigo and oleum, since indole was first isolated by treatment of the indigo dye with oleum. (Wikipedia)

    June 18, 2008