Definition of creosote in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkrēəˌsōt/


(also creosote oil)
1A dark brown oil distilled from coal tar and used as a wood preservative. It contains a number of phenols, cresols, and other organic compounds.
Example sentences
  • The common wood preservatives are creosote, penta-chlorophenol in oil, and copper and sodium napthanates.
  • However, the chemical often used to preserve the wood, coal tar creosote, can present some problems.
  • Common aromatic compounds other than benzene include toluene, naphthalene, and anthracene, all of which are present in coal tar or creosote.
1.1A colorless, pungent, oily liquid, containing creosol and other compounds, distilled from wood tar and used as an antiseptic.
Example sentences
  • The residents fear that the inhalation of creosote fumes, which have an odor like scorched tar, is yet another route of exposure in an already toxic environment.
  • The smell is due to creosote deposits in the chimney, a natural byproduct of wood burning.
  • Soot and creosote build-up cause foul odors, excessive and carcinogenic smoke and fire danger.


[with object]
Treat (wood) with creosote.
Example sentences
  • One time her neighbour caught her creosoting her garden fence at five am in the morning.
  • The original effect of the thickly creosoted sculptures was partly olfactory; the smell of the shore is more than salt alone.
  • ‘I'm going home to creosote the fence,’ replied Shearer.


Mid 19th century: coined in German from Greek kreas 'flesh' + sōtēr 'preserver', with reference to its antiseptic properties.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cre·o·sote

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