Definition of anthracene in English:



  • [mass noun] A colourless crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon obtained by the distillation of crude oils and used in chemical manufacture.

    • ‘The raw materials for today's dyes are mainly aromatic hydrocarbons: benzene, toluene, naphthalene, anthracene, pyrene, and others.’
    • ‘A positive trend was also found between the level of anthracene in the soil and the prevalence of reported rashes.’
    • ‘In animal studies, application of anthracene to the backs of hairless mice, followed by ultraviolet radiation exposure, resulted in enhanced dermal inflammation, compared with ultraviolet radiation alone.’
    • ‘The chemists had some knowledge not only of the formula but also of the chemical structure of anthracene, which they knew to be related to that of alizarin.’
    • ‘Common aromatic compounds other than benzene include toluene, naphthalene, and anthracene, all of which are present in coal tar or creosote.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek anthrax, anthrak- coal + -ene.