• synonyms


  1. an oily liquid having a burning taste and a penetrating odor, obtained by the distillation of coal and wood tar, used mainly as a preservative for wood and as an antiseptic.
  2. coal-tar creosote.
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verb (used with object), cre·o·sot·ed, cre·o·sot·ing.
  1. to treat with creosote.
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Origin of creosote

< German Kreosote (1832) < Greek kreo-, combining form of kréas flesh + sōtēr savior, preserver (in reference to its antiseptic properties)
Related formscre·o·sot·ic [kree-uh-sot-ik] /ˌkri əˈsɒt ɪk/, adjectiveun·cre·o·sot·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for creosote

Contemporary Examples of creosote

Historical Examples of creosote

British Dictionary definitions for creosote


  1. a colourless or pale yellow liquid mixture with a burning taste and penetrating odour distilled from wood tar, esp from beechwood, contains creosol and other phenols, and is used as an antiseptic
  2. Also called: coal-tar creosote a thick dark liquid mixture prepared from coal tar, containing phenols: used as a preservative for wood
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  1. to treat (wood) with creosote
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Derived Formscreosotic (ˌkrɪəˈsɒtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for creosote

C19: from Greek kreas flesh + sōtēr preserver, from sōzein to keep safe
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

Word Origin and History for creosote


1835, from German Kreosot, coined 1832 by its discoverer, German-born natural philosopher Carl Ludwig, Baron Reichenbach (1788-1869), from Greek kreo-, comb. form of kreas "flesh" (see raw) + soter "preserver," from soizein "save, preserve." So called because it was used as an antiseptic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

creosote in Science


  1. A yellow or brown oily liquid obtained from coal tar and used as a wood preservative and disinfectant.
  2. A colorless to yellowish oily liquid containing phenols, obtained by the destructive distillation of wood tar, especially from the wood of a beech, and formerly used as an expectorant in treating chronic bronchitis.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.