for·​ma·​lin | \ ˈfȯr-mə-lən How to pronounce formalin (audio) , -ˌlēn \

Definition of formalin

: a clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde and methanol used especially as a preservative

Examples of formalin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Waste bags filled with formalin, a formaldehyde derivative intended to preserve the remains, had leaked and degraded over time. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, 31 Dec. 2019 One side is further dissected and frozen at minus 80 degrees Celsius, while the other is fixed in formalin. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, 21 Aug. 2019 The room is quiet, save for a roaring fume hood to mask the wretched formalin stench. Alex Prewitt,, 7 May 2018 With both squids submerged in a couple thousand gallons of formalin, the addition of these specimens were likely to raise an eyebrow or two. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, 21 June 2018 At room temperature, formaldehyde is a gas, but when used in a 37% solution with water, it is known as formalin, explained Nikolas P. Lemos, chairman of the toxicology section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Susan Scutti, CNN, 10 Apr. 2018 The other is fixed in formalin solution to halt posthumous decay, then refrigerated to stay fresh before McKee and her team conduct their examination. Alex Prewitt,, 7 May 2018 Following her operation, a nurse mistakenly gave Fedyaeva a solution containing formalin. Susan Scutti, CNN, 10 Apr. 2018 Collectors injected the specimen with formalin (a solution of formaldehyde) for preservation, and shipped it from east Africa to the U.S. Lynne Parenti, Smithsonian, 14 Mar. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formalin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of formalin

1893, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for formalin

Formalin, a trademark

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Time Traveler for formalin

Time Traveler

The first known use of formalin was in 1893

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Dictionary Entries Near formalin

formal garden



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Cite this Entry

“Formalin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for formalin


for·​ma·​lin | \ ˈfȯr-mə-lən, -ˌlēn How to pronounce formalin (audio) \

Medical Definition of formalin

: a clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde containing a small amount of methanol


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