Definition of limonene in English:


Pronunciation /ˈliməˌnēn/ /ˈlɪməˌnin/

See synonyms for limonene


  • A colorless liquid hydrocarbon with a lemon-like scent, present in lemon oil, orange oil, and similar essential oils.

    A terpene; chemical formula: C₁₀H₁₆

    ‘No doubt the electrode detector registered trace ions of limonene (found in orange peels), but none of the cocaine, heroin, PCP, TNT, nitrates, Semtex, or other ions that the screener was looking for.’
    • ‘Industry currently uses limonene as a scent in household cleaners but might one day be used as the raw material for making the plastic bottle itself.’
    • ‘Lemons, limes and oranges contain limonene, a substance that breaks down precursors to skin and breast cancers while stimulating the production of cancer-killing immune cells.’
    • ‘To enhance flavor or impart a desired color, cloves, ginger, fructose, aspartame, saccharin, FD & C Red no.40, monosodium glutamate, caramel, annatto, limonene, and turmeric can be added.’
    • ‘While renowned for their vitamin C content, oranges also contain limonene, lutein and hesperidin which appear to help prevent certain forms of cancer, plus orange juice appears to reduce cholesterol levels.’


Early 20th century from German Limonen, from Limone ‘lemon’, + -ene.