Polyphenols (noun, pronunciation of the singular /pɑli’finəl/ or /pɑli’fɛnəl/, also known as Polyhydroxyphenols) are a structural class of mainly natural, but also synthetic or semisynthetic, organic chemicals characterized by the presence of large multiples of phenol structural units. 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 class. Examples include tannic acid (image at right), and ellagitannin (image below). The historically important chemical class of tannins is a subset of the polyphenols. The name derives 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.