noun Chemistry.

a colorless, shiny, crystalline, water-insoluble isomer of anthracene, C14H10, derived from coal tar: used chiefly in dyestuffs and in the synthesis of drugs.

Origin of phenanthrene

1880–85; phen- + anthr- + -ene Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phenanthrene

Historical Examples of phenanthrene

  • Phenanthrene forms a quinone which has been utilized as a source of colouring-matters, but these are comparatively unimportant.


    Raphael Meldola

  • The next members are the isomers anthracene and phenanthrene, C14H10, formed from three benzene nuclei.

British Dictionary definitions for phenanthrene



a colourless crystalline aromatic compound isomeric with anthracene: used in the manufacture of dyes, drugs, and explosives. Formula: C 14 H 10

Word Origin for phenanthrene

C19: from pheno- + anthracene
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

phenanthrene in Medicine




A colorless crystalline hydrocarbon obtained by fractional distillation of coal-tar oils and used in drugs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

phenanthrene in Science



A colorless, crystalline hydrocarbon obtained by fractional distillation of coal-tar oils and used in dyes, drugs, and explosives. Phenanthrene is an isomer of anthracene and has three benzene rings fused together but not arranged in a straight line. Chemical formula: C14H10.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.