- 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.
Origin of coal tar
First recorded in 1775–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for coal tar
Some of these coal-tar remedies are Acetanilid, and Antipyrin, and Phenacetin.A Handbook of Health
The soul of the righteous is clear oil, and the soul of the sinner is coal-tar.The House with the Mezzanine and Other Stories
Dictionary of Coal-tar Colours, 259.Dinitroso-resorcine, 179.The Dyeing of Cotton Fabrics
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
- a black tar, produced by the distillation of bituminous coal, that can be further distilled to yield benzene, toluene, xylene, anthracene, phenol, etc
- 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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- 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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.