1 [ben-zoh-in, -zoin, ben-zoh-in]
Also called gum benjamin, gum benzoin. a reddish-brown, aromatic balsamic resin occurring in almondlike fragments and having a vanillalike odor, obtained from trees of the genus Styrax, especially S. benzoin, of Java, Sumatra, etc.: used in the manufacture of perfume and cosmetics and in medicine internally as an expectorant and externally as an antiseptic.
Also called benjamin, benjamin-bush. any plant belonging to the genus Lindera (Benzoin ), of the laurel family, including the spicebush and similar aromatic plants.

1550–60; earlier benjoin < Middle French < Portuguese beijoim and Spanish benjuí < Arabic lubān jāwī frankincense of Java (lu- probably constructed as the definite article); z of benzoin < Italian benzoiArabic Unabridged


2 [ben-zoh-in, -zoin, ben-zoh-in]
noun Chemistry.
a white, slightly water-soluble powder, C 14 H 12 O 2 , derived by the condensation of benzaldehyde in the presence of potassium cyanide, and used in organic synthesis.

benzo- + -in2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
benzoin (ˈbɛnzɔɪn, -zəʊɪn, bɛnˈzəʊɪn)
1.  Also called: benjamin a gum resin containing benzoic acid, obtained from various trees of the genus Styrax, esp S. benzoin of Java and Sumatra, and used in ointments, perfume, etc
2.  a white or yellowish crystalline compound with a camphor-like odour used as an antiseptic and flavouring; 2-hydroxy-2-phenylacetophenone. Formula: C6H5CHOHCOC6H5
3.  any lauraceous aromatic shrub or tree of the genus Lindera, esp L. benzoin (spicebush)
[C16: from French benjoin, from Old Catalan benjui, from Arabic lubān jāwī, literally: frankincense of Java]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"a balsamic resin," 1550s, from M.Fr. benjoin (16c.), which comes via Sp., Port, or It., from Arabic luban jawi "incense of Java" (actually Sumatra), with lu probably mistaken in Romance languages for a definite article. The English form with -z- is perhaps from influence of Italian benzoi (Venetian,
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
benzoin   (běn'zō-ĭn, -zoin')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A resin obtained from the bark of certain tropical Asian trees of the genus Styrax and used in making perfumes and in medicine as an antiseptic.

  2. A very toxic white or yellowish crystalline compound derived from benzaldehyde. It oxidizes easily and is used as a reducing agent. Chemical formula: C14H12O2.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for benzoin
Benzoin is synthesized from benzaldehyde in the benzoin condensation.
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