[soo t, soot]


a black, carbonaceous substance produced during incomplete combustion of coal, wood, oil, etc., rising in fine particles and adhering to the sides of the chimney or pipe conveying the smoke: also conveyed in the atmosphere to other locations.

verb (used with object)

to mark, cover, or treat with soot.

Origin of soot

before 900; Middle English; Old English sōt; cognate with Old Norse sōt
Related formssoot·less, adjectivesoot·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for soot

residue, grit, smoke, sediment, gunk, ash, grime, smudge, ashes, smut

Examples from the Web for soot

Contemporary Examples of soot

Historical Examples of soot

  • The shop was built of rough boards, and the inside was blackened with soot.

  • The button of soot has vanished into the limbo of superseded inventions.

  • Nothing, however, appeared to have been touched or disturbed, and there was no soot on the floor.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • The gas had left what appeared to be like a daub of soot on the ceiling.


    Emile Zola

  • And I rubs my hand on the wall where he got over, and there was soot on it, and no mistake.

    A Tangled Tale

    Lewis Carroll

British Dictionary definitions for soot



finely divided carbon deposited from flames during the incomplete combustion of organic substances such as coal


(tr) to cover with soot

Word Origin for soot

Old English sōt; related to Old Norse, Middle Low German sōt, Lithuanian sódis, Old Slavonic sažda, Old Irish sūide
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 soot

Old English sot "soot," from Proto-Germanic *sotam "soot" (cf. Old Norse sot, Old Dutch soet, North Frisian sutt), literally "what settles," from PIE *sod-o- (cf. Old Church Slavonic sažda, Lithuanian suodžiai, Old Irish suide, Breton huzel "soot"), suffixed form of root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

soot in Science



A black, powdery substance that consists mainly of carbon and is formed through the incomplete combustion of wood, coal, diesel oil, or other materials. Because it absorbs energy from sunlight rather than reflecting it, soot is believed to be a cause of global warming, especially when it settles on snow and ice, reducing their reflectivity. Soot particles in the air are a contributing factor in respiratory diseases.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.