Definition of creosote in English:


Syllabification: cre·o·sote
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.
    More 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.
    More 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] Back to top  
  • Treat (wood) with creosote.
    More 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.

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