Share this entry
picric acid Line breaks: pic¦ric acid
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪkrɪk/

Definition of picric acid in English:


[mass noun] Chemistry
A bitter yellow compound obtained by nitrating phenol, used as a dye and in the manufacture of explosives.
  • Alternative name: 2,4,6-trinitrophenol; chemical formula: C6H2(NO2)3OH
Example sentences
  • Nitrogen is an important component of common chemical explosives like TNT, nitroglycerin, gunpowder, guncotton, nitrocellulose, picric acid, and ammonium nitrate.
  • In addition, some of the chemicals could be hazardous: picric acid was explosive, and the arsenic compounds could be toxic to the wearer.
  • Marks recounts how some painted their legs and arms vivid yellow with picric acid to protect against sunburn.


Mid 19th century: picric from Greek pikros 'bitter' + -ic.

Definition of picric acid in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources