chlo·​ro·​fluo·​ro·​car·​bon ˌklȯr-ō-ˌflȯr-ō-ˈkär-bən How to pronounce chlorofluorocarbon (audio)
: any of several simple gaseous compounds that contain carbon, chlorine, fluorine, and sometimes hydrogen, that are used as refrigerants, cleaning solvents, and aerosol propellants and in the manufacture of plastic foams, and that are believed to be a major cause of stratospheric ozone depletion
abbreviation CFC

Examples of chlorofluorocarbon in a Sentence

Many nations have banned the production of chlorofluorocarbons.
Recent Examples on the Web This year, the United Nations released an encouraging study reporting that the ozone layer was indeed on track to fully recover from the damage caused by Midgley’s chlorofluorocarbons — but not for another 40 years. Steven Johnson, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2023 Many fall under the umbrella of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals popularized in the 1930s for use in spray cans, plastic foams and refrigeration. J. Besl, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2023 Freon is a trademark name typically used to refer to several different refrigerants, including chlorofluorocarbons, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Rebekah Riess, CNN, 10 Apr. 2023 Solstice also has a minimal atmospheric lifetime (under two weeks compared to the 1.6 years with hydrofluorocarbons and and 80-100 years with traditional chlorofluorocarbons), so your strategic bedhead won’t haunt your descendants. Erica Smith, ELLE, 5 Apr. 2023 Midgley’s innovations — particularly the chlorofluorocarbons — seemed like brilliant ideas at the time, but 50 years taught us otherwise. Steven Johnson, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2023 In 1987, the historic Montreal Protocol greatly restricted the use of chlorofluorocarbons worldwide, after those chemicals, used since the 1920s for refrigeration, air-conditioning, foam, and aerosol spray cans, were found to deplete ozone after rising into the stratosphere. Kay Nolan,, 5 Mar. 2023 One evening decades ago, when the atmospheric chemist Sherwood Rowland returned home from a long day at the lab studying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), his wife asked him how things were going. IEEE Spectrum, 9 Apr. 2012 Nevertheless, even a negative result would place important limits on how much chlorofluorocarbon there could be in the atmospheres of exoplanets. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 28 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chlorofluorocarbon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chlorofluorocarbon was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near chlorofluorocarbon

Cite this Entry

“Chlorofluorocarbon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a compound that contains carbon, chlorine, fluorine, and sometimes hydrogen and that is used to help refrigerate things, dissolve other compounds, or make aerosol sprays work and is believed to cause ozone loss in the stratosphere

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