AskDefine | Define benzoin

Dictionary Definition



1 gum resin used especially in treating skin irritation [syn: gum benzoin, benjamin, gum benjamin, asa dulcis]
2 used in some classifications for the American spicebush and certain other plants often included in the genus Lindera [syn: genus Benzoin]

User Contributed Dictionary



Compare French benjoin, Spanish benjui and Portuguese beijoin, all from Arabic (lubān-jāwī), incense form Sumatra (named Java in Arabic), the first syllable being lost.


  1. A resinous substance, dry and brittle, obtained from the 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.
  2. A white crystalline substance, C14H12O2, obtained from benzoic aldehyde and some other sources.
  3. The spicebush, Lindera benzoin


resinous substance from tree
white crystalline substance

Related terms

Extensive Definition

"Benzoin" is also used to describe benzoin resin, which does not contain the benzoin described on this page.
Benzoin or 2-Hydroxy-2-phenylacetophenone or 2-Hydroxy-1,2-Diphenylethanone or desyl alcohol or bitter almond oil camphor is an organic compound consisting of an ethylene bridge flanked by phenyl groups and with a hydroxyl and a ketone functional group. It comes as off-white crystals, with a light camphor odor. Benzoin is synthesized from benzaldehyde in the benzoin condensation.
Its main uses are:
Benzoin is not a constituent of benzoin resin obtained from the benzoin tree (Styrax) or tincture of benzoin. The main component in these natural products is benzoic acid.


Benzoin was first synthesized in 1832 by Justus von Liebig and Friedrich Woehler during the research on bitter almond oil, which was benzaldehyde with traces of hydrocyanic acid. The catalytic synthesis by the benzoin condensation was improved by the research of Nikolay Zinin during his time with Liebig.


benzoin in Arabic: بنزوين
benzoin in German: Benzoe
benzoin in Spanish: Benzoína
benzoin in French: Benjoin
benzoin in Japanese: ベンゾイン
benzoin in Polish: Benzoina
benzoin in Vietnamese: Benzoin
benzoin in Chinese: 安息香
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