English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle French benjoin, from Spanish benjuí, Portuguese beijoim, Italian benzoi, from Arabic لُبَان جَاوِيّ (lubān jāwiyy, Javanese frankincense). The first word is from Proto-West Semitic *laban- (white), the second from جاوة (jāwa, Java) (from Javanese ꦗꦮ (jawa)).

The initial lu was probably lost because it was taken as the definite article in Romance. Compare oliban.

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɛnzəʊɪn/, /ˈbɛnzɔɪn/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnzəʊɪn, -ɛnzɔɪn

Noun edit

benzoin (countable and uncountable, plural benzoins)

  1. A resinous substance, dry and brittle, obtained from 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. [from 16th c.]
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
      These following bodies do not draw: smaragd, achates, corneolus, pearl, jaspis, chalcedonius, alabaster, porphyry, coral, marble, touchstone, haematites, or bloodstone; smyris, ivory, bones, ebontree, cedar, cypress, pitch, softer rosin, camphire, galbanum, ammoniac, storax, benzoin, loadstone, asphaltum.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 112:
      Aromatics were used, too, especially in necromancy, and an old recipe of that sort comprises Musk, Myrrh, Frankincense, Red Storax, Mastick, Olibanum, Saffron, Benzoin and Labdanum.
  2. (organic chemistry) An aromatic hydroxy ketone, 2-hydroxy-1,2-di(phenyl)ethanone, synthesized from benzaldehyde; any derivative of this compound. [from 19th c.]
  3. The spicebush, Lindera benzoin. [from 19th c.]

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