ben·​zo·​in ˈben-zə-wən How to pronounce benzoin (audio)
: a hard fragrant yellowish balsamic resin from trees (genus Styrax) of southeastern Asia used especially as a fixative in perfumes, as incense, and in medicine as an expectorant and skin protectant
: a white crystalline hydroxy ketone C14H12O2 made from benzaldehyde

Examples of benzoin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The palace has said the oil is perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli (oil from an orange tree), benzoin (balsamic tree bark resin), amber and orange blossom. Max Taylor, NBC News, 4 May 2023 Other notes include Lebanese Neroli and Italian Mandarin, as well as amber and balsam tones of myrrh and benzoin and vanilla and musk notes. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 Bower and Murphy, for instance, carve paths into the forest each spring to pick young Lindera benzoin (spicebush) leaves, which the Cherokee (whose ancestral knowledge informs much of Appalachia’s traditional medicine) have long used for colds, rheumatism, and anemia. Mark Johanson, Bon Appétit, 23 Sep. 2021 Incense and benzoin lend a spicy element that’s strong and masculine, but work to compliment the woods, not overpower them. Garrett Munce, Men's Health, 28 Feb. 2023 The Atelier des Fleurs version is a contemporary update of the original that plays up the spiciness of its base notes, amber and benzoin. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 8 Apr. 2021 At first spray, the aroma of pine shines through, alongside incense and benzoin, giving it a heady rush. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 One of the special ingredients that genuinely makes this cologne outstanding is benzoin, obtained from the forests of Indonesia. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 Middle notes layer in some spice and woodiness with red ginger and cedarwood, while base notes of musk, vetiver and sweet benzoin add warmth and earthiness. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benzoin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


modification of Middle French benjoin, from Catalan benjuí, from Arabic lubān jāwi, literally, frankincense of Java

First Known Use

1558, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of benzoin was in 1558

Dictionary Entries Near benzoin

Cite this Entry

“Benzoin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


: a hard fragrant yellowish balsamic resin from trees (genus Styrax of the family Styracaceae) of southeastern Asia used especially as an expectorant and topically to relieve skin irritations
: a white crystalline hydroxy ketone C14H12O2 made from benzaldehyde
: a tree yielding benzoin
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