in·​dole ˈin-ˌdōl How to pronounce indole (audio)
: a crystalline alkaloid compound C8H7N that is a decomposition product of proteins containing tryptophan, that can be made synthetically, and that is used in perfumes
also : a derivative of indole

Examples of indole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Under aerobic conditions, in Nairobi for example, paracresol and indole reached concentrations of 89 and 65 μg/g, respectively, which, along with short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid (13 mg/g) explained the strong rancid, manure and farm yard odor. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 1 May 2014 Tryptophanase breaks down the amino acid tryptophan and produces indole, a chemical that acts like a call to arms. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 1 Sep. 2010 In bioassays, of the 17 fecal odorants that elicited GC-EAD responses from fly antennae, a blend of indole and one or more of the alcohols phenol, m-/p-cresol and 1-octen-3-ol proved as attractive to flies as canine feces. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 28 Feb. 2017 This is in part the work of indole, an aromatic compound present in foul-smelling substances like coal tar and feces, which in trace amounts gives the most delicate of flowers an almost animal opulence. New York Times, 11 Oct. 2021 In fact, the flower produces dimethyl trisulfide (also found in Limburger cheese and cabbage), trimethylamine (normally released by rotting fish and animals), isovaleric acid (a major component of foot odor) and indole (found in human feces). Karl J. P. Smith, Scientific American, 29 July 2016 Like jasmine and gardenia, the flower’s aroma has an under-funk of indole, a molecule that’s also present in (sorry) feces. April Long, Town & Country, 13 Sep. 2019 See More

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

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary ind- + -ole

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of indole was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near indole

Cite this Entry

“Indole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Medical Definition


in·​dole ˈin-ˌdōl How to pronounce indole (audio)
: a crystalline compound C8H7N that is found along with skatole in the intestines and feces as a decomposition product of proteins containing tryptophan and that can be made synthetically
also : a derivative of indole

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