From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
Paraffin \Par"af*fin\ (p[a^]r"[a^]f*f[i^]n), Paraffine \Par"af*fine\ (p[a^]r"[a^]f*f[i^]n or p[a^]r"[a^]f*f[=e]n), noun [F. paraffine, fr. L. parum too little + affinis akin. So named in allusion to its chemical inactivity.] (Chem.) A white waxy substance, resembling spermaceti, tasteless and odorless, and obtained from coal tar, wood tar, petroleum, etc., by distillation. It is used in candles, as a sealing agent (such as in canning of preserves), as a waterproofing agent, as an illuminant and as a lubricant. It is very inert, not being acted upon by most of the strong chemical reagents. It was formerly regarded as a definite compound, but is now known to be a complex mixture of several higher hydrocarbons of the methane or marsh-gas series; hence, by extension, any substance, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, of the same chemical series; thus gasoline, coal gas and kerosene consist largely of paraffins. [1913 Webster +PJC]
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
The dictionary definitions are retrieved from a local copy of two of the open source DICT dictionaries. Click here for the database copyright information. DEFINE.COM is registered as an educational NONPROFIT corporation. We aim to please around here. We believe in using positive reinforcement to get things done. We make suggestions that are intended to make life more enjoyable. We think about efficiency, automation, security, PRIVACY, social and ecological responsibility and positive HUMANITARIAN ethics and VALUES. We are benevolent. DO NO HARM is our motto.