picric acid


pic·​ric acid ˈpi-krik- How to pronounce picric acid (audio)
: a toxic yellow crystalline phenol derivative C6H3N3O7 structurally similar to TNT and used especially as a high explosive and as a dye or mordant

Examples of picric acid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web City officials have not released the names of the specific chemicals found within the residence, besides picric acid − which can be highly explosive − and TNT. Eleanor McCrary, The Courier-Journal, 14 Aug. 2023 The Mont-Blanc was packed full of TNT, picric acid, gun cotton and aircraft fuel. Stephen Maher, chicagotribune.com, 21 Dec. 2017 Experiments with a compound called TNP (2,4,6-trinitrophenol, also known as picric acid), which researchers often use to study obesity and diabetes, show that in mice the therapy can promote the formation of new bone. Giorgia Guglielmi, Science | AAAS, 8 Sep. 2017 Mustard gas, picric acid, and TNT—all organic molecules—made for unimaginably destructive weapons. Rebecca Altman, The Atlantic, 4 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'picric acid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of picric acid was circa 1838

Dictionary Entries Near picric acid

Cite this Entry

“Picric acid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picric%20acid. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

picric acid

pic·​ric acid ˌpik-rik- How to pronounce picric acid (audio)
: a bitter toxic explosive yellow crystalline strong acid C6H3N3O7 used especially as a dye or biological stain, as an antiseptic, and as a precipitant for organic bases and polycyclic hydrocarbons

called also trinitrophenol

More from Merriam-Webster on picric acid

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!