ker·​o·​sene | \ ˈker-ə-ˌsēn How to pronounce kerosene (audio) , 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

There were fewer windows then, so the house would have been darker in winter—darker always, with just the small and wavering flames of kerosene lamps to illuminate it at night. Jane Brox, The New Yorker, "My Father’s Things, and My Own," 16 June 2019 In the early days, families came from surrounding farms on horseback to waltz Saturday night away under kerosene lamps. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Texas once had 1,000 dance halls. Now there’s a rush to save those that remain," 4 June 2019 If Obama lit the match, Sanders, as part of his primary bid, doused it in kerosene. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Decade That Changed the Student-Debt Debate," 5 June 2019 Liquid fuel is usually white gas or kerosene and attaches to the stove through a refillable bottle. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 Heather Chrisler — an utterly fearless Chicago actress — noted what had transpired and used the moment like kerosene on stage. Chicago Tribune,, "12 shows to see now," 22 June 2018 But the push also poured political kerosene on an issue that many Democrats credit with powering their midterm election victories in November. Elana Schor, The Seattle Times, "Democrats pivot to health care as Trump attacks ‘Obamacare’," 27 Mar. 2019 Official fuel-export quotas, which include diesel and kerosene, jumped 35% last year, and China may raise them again so refiners can maintain production. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Packaging for Refills; Airbus May Take Wing; Walmart’s Driving Trucks," 25 Jan. 2019 It will be powered by liquid oxygen (known in the space business as LOX) and cryogenic liquid methane, rather than the LOX/kerosene mix other SpaceX engines have used. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk Shows Off SpaceX Raptor Engine Tests," 4 Feb. 2019

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

22 Jun 2019

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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

chiefly US : a type of oil that is burned as a fuel


ker·​o·​sene | \ ˈker-ə-ˌsēn How to pronounce kerosene (audio) \

Kids Definition of kerosene

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


variants: also kerosine \ ˈker-​ə-​ˌsēn How to pronounce kerosine (audio) , ˌker-​ə-​ˈ How to pronounce kerosine (audio) , 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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More from Merriam-Webster on kerosene

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kerosene

Spanish Central: Translation of kerosene

Nglish: Translation of kerosene for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about kerosene

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