One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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.
- ‘Avoid using wood treated with creosote or penta, as the vapors can injure some plants.’
- ‘Common aromatic compounds other than benzene include toluene, naphthalene, and anthracene, all of which are present in coal tar or creosote.’
- ‘If you are really desperate, take advantage of the hot weather and slap a coat of creosote on the garden fence or shed.’
- ‘The common wood preservatives are creosote, penta-chlorophenol in oil, and copper and sodium napthanates.’
- ‘An original child's rocker is also kept here, which has been in the family for over 150 years, and is dosed with creosote in an effort to preserve the wood.’
- ‘However, the chemical often used to preserve the wood, coal tar creosote, can present some problems.’
- 1.1 A colorless, pungent, oily liquid, containing creosol and other compounds, distilled from wood tar and used as an antiseptic.
- ‘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.’
- ‘I've been bathed in creosote in Utah by a Native American Indian.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘We learn that the Cahuilla Indians in the Mojave Desert, where we are, inhaled the vapors from boiling creosote to treat respiratory infections.’
Treat (wood) with creosote.
- ‘‘I'm going home to creosote the fence,’ replied Shearer.’
- ‘Agnes was leaning over the creosoted garden-gate, and behind her there stood a young man who had the figure of a Greek athlete and the face of an English one.’
- ‘Yesterday, kept waiting for the rain to stop so I could creosote the new step my neighbour replaced on the terrace, but I kept getting the timing wrong.’
- ‘One time her neighbour caught her creosoting her garden fence at five am in the morning.’
- ‘Leaning on a creosoted railing London makes sense.’
- ‘The original effect of the thickly creosoted sculptures was partly olfactory; the smell of the shore is more than salt alone.’
Mid 19th century: coined in German from Greek kreas ‘flesh’ + sōtēr ‘preserver’, with reference to its antiseptic properties.
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