from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A viscous black liquid containing numerous organic compounds that is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal and used as a roofing, waterproofing, and insulating compound and as a raw material for many dyes, drugs, and paints.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A black, viscous tar made by the destructive distillation of coal (to make coke and town gas); it contains a great number of compounds including hydrocarbons and phenols; used in the preparation of medicated soap and shampoo, and industrially for the manufacture of very many products.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See in the Vocabulary.
  • A thick, black, tarry liquid, obtained by the distillation of bituminous coal in the manufacture of illuminating gas; used for making printer's ink, black varnish, etc. It is a complex mixture from which many substances have been obtained, especially hydrocarbons of the benzene or aromatic series.
  • n. See in the Vocabulary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A thick, black, viscid, opaque liquid which condenses in the pipes when gas is distilled from coal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a tar formed from distillation of bituminous coal; coal tar can be further distilled to give various aromatic compounds


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Some coal tar colors FD&C or D&C dyes used in hair color, makeup, and skin care products that have been tested were shown to cause cancer when injected into the skin of rodents, and yet most have never been adequately tested for safety in cosmetic use.

    The Truth About Beauty

  • There are now beautiful, highly saturated, and finely textured eyeshadows, ultra-hip glosses, and smudgy pencils in must-have colors, minus the petrochemicals, perfumes, preservatives, and coal tar dyes.

    The Truth About Beauty

  • Knowing the safety and sensitivity concerns of coal tar colors, the irritating nature of perfumes, the dangers of talc inhalation, and the pore-clogging tendencies of mineral oil, I was frustrated with the lack of sophistication and appeal when it came to natural-color cosmetics.

    The Truth About Beauty

  • Claude was well aware of the previous importance to the perfume industry of ambergris, a substance secreted by temporarily infirm whales, but he was convinced that petrochemical and coal tar fixatives were completely adequate substitutes.

    La insistencia de J├╝rgen Fauth


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