: a clear or yellowish flammable oily liquid mixture of phenolic compounds obtained by the distillation of wood tar especially from beech wood and used especially as a disinfectant and as an expectorant in chronic bronchitis
: a brownish oily liquid consisting chiefly of aromatic hydrocarbons obtained by distillation of coal tar and used especially as a wood preservative
Either of two entirely different substances, distilled from coal tar or wood tar. Coal-tar creosote is a complex mixture of organic compounds, largely hydrocarbons. It is a cheap water-insoluble wood preservative used for railroad ties, telephone poles, and marine pier pilings and as a disinfectant, fungicide, and biocide. Wood-tar creosote consists mainly of phenols and related compounds and was once widely used for pharmaceutical purposes.