One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of three colourless, pungent-smelling, liquid bases, (CH₃)C₅H₄N, that are isomeric methyl derivatives of pyridine and are obtained from coal tar, bone oil, etc.; specifically the α-isomer (2-methylpyridine).
Mid 19th century. From classical Latin pic-, pix pitch + -ol + -ine. Compare German Picolin.
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