o-Methoxyphenols are antioxidants widely used in the cosmetic and food industries. Dimers from 1, 2, or 3 were synthesized and their radical-scavenging and biological activities were compared with those of the original or other phenols. Radical-scavenging was evaluated from a kinetic induction period method (IPM). To simulate biomimetic thiolcooxidation with antioxidants, the behavior of mixtures of 1, 2, 4, or catechin with mercaptomethylimidazole (MMI), a thiol was investigated using IPM. Polyphenols 4 and catechin was accompanied by extensive oxygen uptake, suggesting the formation of thiyl radicals from MMI and their reaction with molecular oxygen. In contrast, 1 markedly enhanced radical-scavenging without oxygen uptake, probably because of the formation of EUGQM/MMI-conjugates. 2 showed relatively small oxygen uptake, probably resulting from the predominant formation of benzyl radicals. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells by 4, but not by compounds 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 was found, suggesting a possible link between physicochemical oxygen-uptake and intracellular ROS. The induction of apoptosis by 4 in HL-60 cells was accompanied by intracellular ROS. Dimers 6 and 7 inhibited nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in RAW 264.7 cells. Also, 6, 7, and 9 inhibited LPS-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in RAW 264.7 cells in a dose-dependent manner, whereas 1, 2 and 3 did not. Dimerization of o-methoxyphenols may be a useful tool for the design of drugs to act as potent chemopreventive and anticancer agents.