French salicylique, from salicyle, the group HOC6H4CO, from salicine salicin + -yle -yl
First Known Use: 1840
Medical Definition of SALICYLIC ACID
: a crystalline phenolic acid C7H6O3 that is the ortho form of hydroxybenzoic acid and is used especially in making pharmaceuticals and dyes, as an antiseptic and disinfectant especially in treating skin diseases, as a keratolytic agent for skin exfoliation, and in the form of salts and other derivatives as an analgesic and antipyretic and in the treatment of rheumatism—see aspirin
White, crystalline solid organic compound used chiefly to make aspirin and other pharmaceutical products, including methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen, for medicines and flavourings), phenyl salicylate (for sunburn creams and pill coatings), and salicylanilide (a cutaneous fungicide). Its molecular structure, with the formula CH(OH)COOH, consists of a six-membered aromatic ring (seearomatic compound) having a hydroxyl group (OH) and a carboxyl group (COOH) bonded to adjacent carbon atoms; as such, it is both a phenol and a carboxylic acid. It and certain derivatives occur naturally in some plants, particularly species of Spiraea and Salix (willow). Large amounts are used in producing certain dyes.