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.
Origin: Gr. To show + -ol: cf. F. Phenol.
(01 Mar 1998)
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