from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of three colorless flammable isomeric benzene derivatives, C8H10, obtained from wood and coal tar.
  • noun A mixture of xylene isomers used as a solvent in making lacquers and rubber cement and as an aviation fuel.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any one of the three metameric dimethyl benzines C6H4 (CH3)2. They are volatile, inflammable liquids obtained from wood-spirit and from coal-tar. Also xylol, xylole.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun chemistry Any of a group of three isomeric aromatic hydrocarbons, di-methyl-benzene, found in coal and wood tar.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a colorless flammable volatile liquid hydrocarbon used as a solvent


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ξύλον (ksulon, "wood") + -ene.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word xylene.


  • From this tar are produced a pound of benzine, a pound of toluene, a pound and a half of phenol, six pounds of naphthalene, a small quantity of a material called xylene and half a pound of anthracene, which is used in dyeing.

    Golden Days for Boys and Girls, Vol. XIII, Nov. 28, 1891 Various

  • Records show the company uses carcinogenic chemicals such as xylene and ethylbenzene as well as the chemical phenol, which is listed as a hazardous air pollutant, in its coatings for the wire. Ashland City Times 2009

  • The plant uses carcinogenic chemicals such as xylene and ethylbenzene as well as the chemical phenol, which is listed as a hazardous air pollutant, in its coatings for the wire, Top News 2009

  • The tsunami of gas drilling operations in bucolic areas brings more than increased truck traffic and congestion; locals are now complaining of health problems ranging from asthma and migraines to air and ground water contaminated by carcinogens like benzene and xylene.

    Rocky Kistner: After the Gas Rush (Part 1) Rocky Kistner 2012

  • The solvents toluene and xylene are commonly abused for the euphoric effects produced by inhalation through techniques such as "huffing" or "bagging."

    Hydrocarbon Ingestion 2010

  • Last week the EPA collected air samples around New Orleans to test for pollutants like benzene, toluene and xylene.

    Eco-Justice 2009

  • Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said they hope to find more information on some of the chemicals used in the drilling process, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

    Halliburton & Other 'Fracking' Companies May Have Violated Safe Drinking Water Act AP 2011

  • Natural gas companies have insisted that their newly popular hydraulic fracturing known as "fracking" techniques are safe, but as Care2's Kristina Chew reports, "environmentalists and regulators have become increasingly concerned that the fracking chemicals--including toluene, xylene and benzene, a carcinogen, which are all from diesel gas---are seeping out into underground sources of drinking water, in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act."

    The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: The Dirty Truth about Natural Gas and Energy Innovation The Media Consortium 2011

  • Products commonly abused include toluene, xylene, gasoline, tetraethyl lead and acetone.

    Freon Abuse 2010

  • Toluene, xylene, and benzene belong to the cyclic, aromatic group of hydrocarbons.

    Hydrocarbon Ingestion 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.