Polyphenols (noun, pronunciation of the singular /pɑli'finəl/ or /pɑli'fɛnəl/) are a structural class of natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic organic chemicals characterized by the presence of large multiples of phenol structural units (right). The number and characteristics of these phenol structures underlie the unique physical, chemical, and biological (metabolic, toxic, therapeutic, etc.) properties of particular members of the polyphenol class. The name derives from poly-, from the ancient Greek word πολύς (polus, meaning “many, much”) and the word phenol which refers to a chemical structure formed by attaching to an aromatic benzenoid (phenyl) ring, an hydroxyl (-OH) group akin to that found in alcohols (hence the "-ol" suffix). The term polyphenol appears to have been in use since 1894.
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