Definition of salicylic acid in US English:

salicylic acid


  • A bitter compound present in certain plants. It is used as a fungicide and in the manufacture of aspirin and dyestuffs.

    Alternative name: o-hydroxybenzoic acid; chemical formula: C₆H₄(OH)(COOH)

    • ‘Keratolytic preparations containing salicylic acid in a propylene glycol gel may be used to remove the stratum corneum.’
    • ‘Raspberries are a rich source of the pollution-busting supernutrient ellagic acid and salicylic acid, nature's form of aspirin, which may help to deal with any light-headedness.’
    • ‘Anti-acne creams contain compounds such as salicylic acid, sulphur, and triclosan that are effective at killing bacteria and reducing the signs of acne.’
    • ‘Aspirin was at first derived from salicylic acid - an extract of willow bark - but in 1899 Bayer developed a way of making it synthetically.’
    • ‘To treat seborrheic dermatitis, look for shampoos that contain coal tar, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide or salicylic acid.’


Mid 19th century: salicylic from French salicyle (the radical of the acid), from Latin salix, salic- ‘willow’.


salicylic acid

/ˌsaləˌsilik ˈasəd/