clear, colorless liquid used as a solvent, 1835, benzine, altered from German Benzin, coined in 1833 by German chemist Eilhardt Mitscherlich (1794-1863) from Benz(oesäure) "benzoic acid" + -in, indicating "derived from" (see -ine (2)). Mitscherlich obtained it from a distillation of benzoic acid, obtained from benzoin. The form benzene (with hydrocarbon suffix -ene) was proposed in 1835 and began to be used from 1838 in English, but in mid-19c. it also commonly was called benzol with ending from alcohol.
updated on May 20, 2017