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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Xylene \Xy"lene\, n. [Gr. xy`lon wood.] (Chem.) Any of a group of three metameric hydrocarbons of the aromatic series, found in coal and wood tar, and so named because found in crude wood spirit. They are colorless, oily, inflammable liquids, C6H4.(CH3)2, being dimethyl benzenes, and are called respectively orthoxylene, metaxylene, and paraxylene. Called also xylol.

Note: Each of these xylenes is the nucleus and prototype of a distinct series of compounds.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1851, from Greek xylon "wood" (see xylo-) + -ene.


n. (context chemistry English) Any of a group of three isomeric aromatic hydrocarbons, di-methyl-benzene, found in coal and wood tar.


n. a colorless flammable volatile liquid hydrocarbon used as a solvent [syn: xylol]


Xylene (from Greek ξύλο, xylo, "wood"), xylol or dimethylbenzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon mixture consisting of a benzene ring with two methyl groups at various substituted positions. The three isomers of xylene have the molecular formula CH, also represented by the semi-structural formula CH(CH). Xylene is a major petrochemical produced by catalytic reforming and also by coal carbonisation in the manufacture of coke fuel. It represents about 0.5–1% of crude oil (depending on the source), and is found in small quantities in gasoline and aircraft fuels. Xylenes are mainly produced as part of the BTX aromatics ( benzene, toluene and xylenes) extracted from the product of catalytic reforming known as "reformate". The mixture is a slightly greasy, colorless liquid commonly encountered as a solvent. Xylene was first isolated and named in 1850 by the French chemist Auguste Cahours (1813–1891), having been discovered as a constituent of wood tar. Several million tons are produced annually. In 2011, a global consortium began construction of one of the world’s largest xylene plants in Singapore.

Usage examples of "xylene".

The fumes given off by acetone, benzine, xylene, and formaldehyde are toxic and may cause sickness.

It is also suggested that the fingerprint examiner wear rubber gloves when using acetone, benzine, xylene, formaldehyde, potassium hydroxide, or sodium hydroxide.

Under the fume hood, the storage containers for the acetone, toluene, xylene, and other solvents and chemicals.

Bosnian housekeeper having employed a product that contained xylene and chlorinated hydrocarbons to clean some crayon-marks off a bleached-oak end table.

The resulting toxic soup contained the ingredients of xylene, benzyl phythlate, methanol, toluene, ethyl benzene, ethylene oxide and common formaldehyde, any of which would have caused a grave and lasting damage to the Peace River.

One {26} must not rely upon the false analogy of the Xylenes to rebut this argument.