1. A white or pinkish crystalline substance, C6H5OH, produced by the destructive distillation of many organic bodies, as wood, coal, etc, and obtained from the heavy oil from coal tar.
It has a peculiar odour, somewhat resembling creosote, which is a complex mixture of phenol derivatives. It is of the type of alcohols, and is called also phenyl alcohol, but has acid properties, and hence is popularly called carbolic acid, and was formerly called phenic acid. It is a powerful caustic poison, and in dilute solution has been used as an antiseptic.
2. Any one of the series of hydroxyl derivatives of which phenol proper is the type.
(Science: chemistry) glacial phenol, any one of a series of compounds having both phenol and aldehyde properties. Phenol phthalein. See Phthalein.
Origin: Gr. To show – -ol: cf. F. Phenol.