Header image of wall of bricks Open menu Close menu


Also anthra‑.

Coal or carbon; a carbuncle.

Greek anthrax, coal.

A hard type of coal is called anthracite, originally the Greek word for a type of gem; the chemical anthracene, a valuable raw material for making dyestuffs, was first obtained by distilling coal-tar. The plant diseases collectively called anthracnose, caused by a fungus, are so named because dark, sunken spots appear; anthrax, a severe infectious disease caused by a bacillus, causes carbuncles among other symptoms.

The shortened prefix anthra‑ denotes compounds obtained originally from coal-tar or related to anthracene: anthraquinone is a yellow crystalline compound used to make dyes; another dyestuff precursor is anthranilic acid, whose derivative methyl anthranilate gives foodstuffs a grape flavour and also appears in perfumes and aromatherapy oils.

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.