aromatic - unsaturated hydrocarbon identified by one or more benzene rings or by chemical behavior similar to benzene. The benzene ring is characterized by three double bonds alternating with single bonds between carbon atoms (compare with olefins). Because of these multiple bonds, aromatics are usually more reactive and have higher solvency than paraffins and naphthenes. Aromatics readily undergo electrophylic substitution; that is, they react to add other active molecular groups, such as nitrates, sulfonates, etc. Aromatics are used extensively as petrochemical building blocks in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, dyes, plastics, and many other chemicals.