noun[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
- 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.
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