Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus L.), a shrub of the eastern part of America, used as a raw material by pharmaceutical industries for cholagoque, diuretic, tonic and the preparation of homeopathic tinctures. The identification of lignans as major antioxidant components and determination of their antioxidant activities are of considerable interest, because of the role they play in pharmacological actions. The potential antioxidant activity of the lignans such as phillyrin, pinoresinol-beta-D-glucoside (PDG) and pinoresinol di-beta-D-glucoside (PDDG) from root bark of fringe tree (C. virginicus L.) were examined by different antioxidant tests including; 2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical scavenging, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl free radical (DPPH center dot) scavenging, superoxide anion radical (O-2(center dot-)) scavenging, total antioxidant activity by ferric thiocyanate method, reducing activity by Fe3+-Fe2+ transformation, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) scavenging and ferrous metal (Fe+2 stop) chelating activities. Phillyrin, PDG and PDDG, as antioxidants, neutralized the activities of radicals and inhibited the peroxidation reactions of linoleic acid emulsion. The total antioxidant activity was determined according to the ferric thiocyanate method. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), alpha-tocopherol and trolox, which is a water-soluble analogue of tocopherol, were used as the reference antioxidant compounds. Phillyrin, PDG and PDDG showed 67.6, 77.3 and 64.2% inhibition on lipid peroxidation of linoleic acid emulsion, respectively, at the concentration of 20 mu g/mL. On the other hand, BHA, BHT, alpha-tocopherol and trolox exhibited 74.4, 71.2, 54.7 and 20.6% inhibition on peroxidation of linoleic acid emulsion, respectively, at the above mentioned concentration. In addition, phillyrin, PDG and PDDG were effective on DPPH center dot, ABTS(center dot+) and O-2(center dot-) scavenging, H2O2 scavenging, total reducing power and metal chelating effect on ferrous ions activities. Also, BHA, BHT, alpha-tocopherol and trolox were used as references antioxidants for these various antioxidant activities.