[ kree-uh-soht ]
/ ˈkri əˌsoʊt /


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.

verb (used with object), cre·o·sot·ed, cre·o·sot·ing.

to treat with creosote.

Nearby words

  1. creolize,
  2. creolized,
  3. creon,
  4. creophagous,
  5. creosol,
  6. creosote bush,
  7. crepe,
  8. crepe de chine,
  9. crepe hair,
  10. crepe marocain

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for creosote

British Dictionary definitions for creosote


/ (ˈkrɪəˌsəʊt) /


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
Also called: coal-tar creosote a thick dark liquid mixture prepared from coal tar, containing phenols: used as a preservative for wood


to treat (wood) with creosote
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for creosote


[ krēə-sōt′ ]

A yellow or brown oily liquid obtained from coal tar and used as a wood preservative and disinfectant.
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.