paraffin

2 definitions found

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]

Note: In the present chemical usage this word is spelled paraffin, but in commerce it is commonly spelled paraffine.

{Native paraffin}. See {Ozocerite}.

{Paraffin series}. See {Methane series}, under {Methane}.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

paraffin

noun

1: from crude petroleum; used for candles and for preservative or waterproof coatings [syn: {paraffin}, {paraffin wax}]

2: a series of non-aromatic saturated hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH(2n+2) [syn: {methane series}, {alkane series}, {alkane}, {paraffin series}, {paraffin}]

3: (British usage) kerosine [syn: {paraffin}, {paraffin oil}]

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