Definition of "coal tar" [coal• tar]

  • 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. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "coal tar" in a sentence
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."