turpentine, yellow to brown semifluid oleoresin exuded from the sapwood of pines, firs, and other conifers. It is made up of two principal components, an essential oil and a type of resin that is called rosin . The essential oil (oil of turpentine) can be separated from the rosin by steam distillation. Commercial turpentine, or turps, is this oil of turpentine. When pure, it is a colorless, transparent, oily liquid with a penetrating odor and a characteristic taste. It contains a large proportion of pinene, a compound from which camphor is manufactured. Turpentine is obtained in large amounts from several species of pines of the SE United States; its physical properties, e.g., boiling point, depend on its source. It is used chiefly as a solvent and drying agent in paints and varnishes.
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