ker·o·sene | \ ˈker-ə-ˌsēn , ˌker-ə-ˈsēn \
variants: or less commonly kerosine

Definition of kerosene 

: a flammable hydrocarbon oil usually obtained by distillation of petroleum and used as a fuel, solvent, and thinner

Examples of kerosene in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The chaos started Friday, when the Haitian government announced its plan to raise prices on gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Amanda Erickson, Anchorage Daily News, "Unrest in Haiti leaves dozens of American church groups stranded and unable to leave," 9 July 2018 On Friday, with little notice, the government raised the prices on gas by 38 percent, kerosene by 51 percent and diesel by 47 percent — while many Haitians were distracted by the Brazil-Belgium World Cup Game. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Haiti’s low fuel prices unfairly benefit the rich and need to be raised, IMF says," 12 July 2018 The demonstrations began after the Commerce Ministry and Economic Ministry issued a joint statement announcing an increase of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Fox News, "Violent protests erupt in Haiti as fuel prices spike," 6 July 2018 How many people were killed or injured from the collision is impossible to say; in the moments after impact, the kerosene lamps that hung in the hallways of the wooden cars quickly set everything aflame. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Hammond Train Wreck of 1918 Killed Scores of Circus Performers," 22 June 2018 The pair, working with a few other classmates, identified a huge pain point for villagers in Sub-Saharan Africa: an over-reliance on diesel and kerosene as energy sources, creating a costly, inefficient system. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison-based clean energy startup takes first prize in Gov Biz Plan Contest," 8 June 2018 Russia recently completed preliminary design work on the Soyuz-5 rocket, a medium-lift booster, with a first stage powered by RD-171 engines that will burn kerosene fuel. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Russia may lack the funds to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket," 7 June 2018 Because of an outsized fear of germs, doctors shaved women’s pubic hair, scrubbed their heads with kerosene, cleaned their nipples and stomachs with ether, and douched them with saline and either whiskey or mercury chloride. Allison Yarrow, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Childbirth Photos Instagram Didn't Want You to See," 11 May 2018 Everything else is systematically torched by firefighters, whose hoses spout kerosene instead of water. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Fahrenheit 451 Tackles the Evils of Social Media," 19 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of kerosene

1854, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kerosene

Greek kēros + English -ene (as in camphene)

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Statistics for kerosene

Last Updated

3 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kerosene

The first known use of kerosene was in 1854

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More Definitions for kerosene



English Language Learners Definition of kerosene

: a type of oil that is burned as a fuel


ker·o·sene | \ ˈker-ə-ˌsēn \

Kids Definition of kerosene

: a thin oil obtained from petroleum and used as a fuel and solvent


variants: also kerosine \ˈker-ə-ˌsēn, ˌker-ə-ˈ, ˈkar-, ˌkar- \

Medical Definition of kerosene 

: a flammable hydrocarbon oil usually obtained by distillation of petroleum and used for a fuel and as a solvent and thinner (as in insecticide emulsions)

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