noun Chemistry.
a colorless, water-insoluble, flammable liquid, C 7 H 8 , having a benzenelike odor, obtained chiefly from coal tar and petroleum: used as a solvent in the manufacture of benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, TNT, and other organic compounds.

1870–75; tolu + -ene Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
toluene (ˈtɒljʊˌiːn)
a colourless volatile flammable liquid with an odour resembling that of benzene, obtained from petroleum and coal tar and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of many organic chemicals. Formula: C6H5CH3
[C19: from tolu + -ene, since it was previously obtained from tolu]

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

colorless liquid hydrocarbon, 1871, from Ger. toluin (Berzelius, 1842), from Tolu, place in Colombia (now Santiago de Tolu) from which balsam of Tolu was obtained from the bark of certain trees. The chemical so called because it was first distilled from balsam of Tolu.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
toluene   (tŏl'y-ēn')  Pronunciation Key 
A clear, toxic, flammable liquid that is used in fuels, explosives, dyes, medicines, and many industrial chemicals. Toluene consists of a methyl group attached to benzene. Also called methylbenzene. Chemical formula: C7H8.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Why would someone add xylene, toluene and other petrochemical products to a
  fracking mix.
Aerogel attracts oil, toluene and other organic compounds that end up in
  wastewater from industrial plants.
The factory in my town pumps out solvents such as toluene into the air.
Then she dissolved the residue in a solvent called toluene.
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