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[kree-uh-soht] /ˈkri əˌsoʊt/
an oily liquid having a burning taste and a penetrating odor, obtained by the distillation of coal and wood tar, used mainly as a preservative for wood and as an antiseptic.
verb (used with object), creosoted, creosoting.
to treat with creosote.
< German Kreosote (1832) < Greek kreo-, combining form of kréas flesh + sōtēr savior, preserver (in reference to its antiseptic properties)
Related forms
[kree-uh-sot-ik] /ˌkri əˈsɒt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
uncreosoted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for creosote
  • creosote and juniper sweeten the aroma of desert rainfall.
  • Franken suggested runoff from a nearby creosote plant.
  • It begins at the park's midsection, sweeping east across empty basins stubbled with creosote bushes.
  • creosote is the name used for a variety of products that are mixtures of many chemicals.
  • creosote is irritating to skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.
  • The site is an inactive or abandoned wood treating facility that used creosote in its treatment process.
  • The sharp smell of creosote bush comes from natural oils and wax which coat its leaves to seal in water.
British Dictionary definitions for creosote


a colourless or pale yellow liquid mixture with a burning taste and penetrating odour distilled from wood tar, esp from beechwood, contains creosol and other phenols, and is used as an antiseptic
Also called coal-tar creosote. a thick dark liquid mixture prepared from coal tar, containing phenols: used as a preservative for wood
to treat (wood) with creosote
Derived Forms
creosotic (ˌkrɪəˈsɒtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek kreas flesh + sōtēr preserver, from sōzein to keep safe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for creosote

1835, from German Kreosot, coined 1832 by its discoverer, German-born natural philosopher Carl Ludwig, Baron Reichenbach (1788-1869), from Greek kreo-, comb. form of kreas "flesh" (see raw) + soter "preserver," from soizein "save, preserve." So called because it was used as an antiseptic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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creosote in Science
  1. A yellow or brown oily liquid obtained from coal tar and used as a wood preservative and disinfectant.

  2. A colorless to yellowish oily liquid containing phenols, obtained by the destructive distillation of wood tar, especially from the wood of a beech, and formerly used as an expectorant in treating chronic bronchitis.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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