[ben-zeen, ben-zeen]
noun Chemistry.
a colorless, volatile, flammable, toxic, slightly water-soluble, liquid, aromatic compound, C 6 H 6 , obtained chiefly from coal tar: used in the manufacture of commercial and medicinal chemicals, dyes, and as a solvent for resins, fats, or the like.

1825–35; benz(oic acid) + -ene Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
benzene (ˈbɛnziːn, bɛnˈziːn)
See also benzene ring a colourless flammable toxic aromatic liquid used in the manufacture of styrene, phenol, etc, as a solvent for fats, resins, etc, and as an insecticide. Formula: C6H6

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Word Origin & History

1835, benzine, from Ger. Benzin, coined in 1833 by Ger. chemist Eilhardt Mitscherlich (1794-1863) from Benz(oesäure) "benzoic acid." Mitscherlich obtained it from a distillation of benzoic acid, obtained from benzoin (q.v.). The form benzene dates from 1872 in English.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

benzene ben·zene (běn'zēn', běn-zēn')
A clear, colorless, highly refractive flammable liquid derived from petroleum and used in or to manufacture a wide variety of chemical products, including DDT, insecticides, and motor fuels. Also called benzine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
benzene   (běn'zēn')  Pronunciation Key 
A colorless flammable liquid derived from petroleum. Benzene is used to make detergents, insecticides, motor fuels, and many other chemical products. Chemical formula: C6H6. See more at benzene ring.

benzyl adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Likely candidates include such recognized or suspected carcinogens as benzene
  and formaldehyde.
The harmful compounds in petroleum absent from renewable diesel include
  benzene, which becomes an airborne carcinogen when burned.
The exhaust is a complex mix of toxic substances such as benzene, arsenic and
  formaldehyde, many of which can cause cancer.
Benzene is a component of products derived from coal and petroleum and is found
  in gasoline and other fuels.
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