• synonyms

coal tar

  1. a thick, black, viscid liquid formed during the distillation of coal, that upon further distillation yields compounds, as benzene, anthracene, and phenol, from which are derived a large number of dyes, drugs, and other synthetic compounds, and that yields a final residuum (coal-tar pitch), which is used chiefly in making pavements.
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Origin of coal tar

First recorded in 1775–85
Related formscoal-tar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coal tar

Historical Examples

  • Some of these coal-tar remedies are Acetanilid, and Antipyrin, and Phenacetin.

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

  • The soul of the righteous is clear oil, and the soul of the sinner is coal-tar.

  • Dictionary of Coal-tar Colours, 259.Dinitroso-resorcine, 179.

  • Black brick are made by heating and then dipping in coal-tar.

    Convenient Houses

    Louis Henry Gibson

  • Curiosity concerning a barrel of coal-tar led to Bingo's undoing.

    A Lively Bit of the Front

    Percy F. Westerman

British Dictionary definitions for coal tar

coal tar

  1. a black tar, produced by the distillation of bituminous coal, that can be further distilled to yield benzene, toluene, xylene, anthracene, phenol, etc
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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

coal tar in Medicine

coal tar

  1. A viscous black liquid containing numerous organic compounds that is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal and that has many uses including as raw material for many dyes, drugs, and paints.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

coal tar in Science

coal tar

  1. A thick, sticky, black liquid obtained through the destructive distillation (heating in the absence of air) of coal. It is used as a source of many organic compounds, such as benzene, naphthalene, and phenols, which are used in dyes, drugs, and other compounds.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.