Tur"pen*tine, n. [F. t'er'ebentine, OF. also turbentine; cf. Pr. terebentina, terbentina, It. terebentina, trementina; fr. L. terebinthinus of the turpentine tree, from terebinthus the turpentine tree. Gr. , . See Terebinth.]
A semifluid or fluid oleoresin, primarily the exudation of the terebinth, or turpentine, tree (Pistacia Terebinthus), a native of the Mediterranean region. It is also obtained from many coniferous trees, especially species of pine, larch, and fir.
⇒ There are many varieties of turpentine. Chian turpentine is produced in small quantities by the turpentine tree (Pistacia Terebinthus). Venice, Swiss, or larch turpentine, is obtained from Larix Europaea. It is a clear, colorless balsam, having a tendency to solidify. Canada turpentine, or Canada balsam, is the purest of all the pine turpentines (see under Balsam). The Carpathian and Hungarian varieties are derived from Pinus Cembra and Pinus Mugho. Carolina turpentine, the most abundant kind, comes from the long-leaved pine (Pinus palustris). Strasburg turpentine is from the silver fir (Abies pectinata).
Oil of turpentine Chem., a colorless oily hydrocarbon, C10H16, of a pleasant aromatic odor, obtained by the distillation of crude turpentine. It is used in making varnishes, in medicine, etc. It is the type of the terpenes and is related to cymene. Called also terebenthene, terpene, etc. -- Turpentine moth Zool., any one of several species of small tortricid moths whose larvae eat the tender shoots of pine and fir trees, causing an exudation of pitch or resin. -- Turpentine tree Bot., the terebinth tree, the original source of turpentine. See Turpentine, above.
© Webster 1913.