General English


  • noun a black deposit of fine particles of carbon which rise in the smoke produced by the burning of material such as coal, wood or oil

Origin & History of “soot”

Soot is etymologically that which ‘sits’ on something – that is, a film which settles on a surface. The word comes from a prehistoric Germanic *sōtam, which was descended from the Indo-European base *sōd-, *sed- ‘sit’ (source also of English settle, sit, etc). By the time it reached English it had become specialized in meaning to the ‘fine black particles produced by burning’.