na·​palm | \ ˈnā-ˌpäm How to pronounce napalm (audio) , -ˌpälm How to pronounce napalm (audio) also ˈna- also nə-ˈpä(l)m \

Definition of napalm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thickener consisting of a mixture of aluminum soaps used in jelling gasoline (as for incendiary bombs)
2 : fuel jelled with napalm


napalmed; napalming; napalms

Definition of napalm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to assault with napalm

Examples of napalm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One man was charged for posting a crude napalm recipe that is widely available online. NBC News, "FBI trawled Facebook to arrest protesters for inciting riots, court records show," 18 June 2020 More bombs were dropped in Korea than in Germany and Japan combined during WWII; nearly twice as much napalm was sprayed there as in Vietnam. Los Angeles Times, "I’m a South Korean adoptee in America. And I feel more invisible than ever," 9 Apr. 2020 Along the way, some pretty inspiring people came into view, such as Kim Phuc, best know as the girl in the picture of a Vietnamese child burned by napalm, on a day that was to define her life, but not her spirit. CBS News, ""Sunday Morning": Stories with heart," 15 Mar. 2020 Even with Max Scherzer not looking like his usual dominant self and with a bullpen that tends to spray napalm all over leads, Washington should still have the edge over a Brewers squad playing over its head. The Si Staff,, "National League Wild-Card Game Predictions: Who Has the Edge in Nationals-Brewers?," 1 Oct. 2019 The jellied gasoline -- napalm -- inside the metal casings would ignite seconds after hitting something solid and shoot the flaming gel onto the surrounding surfaces. Brad Lendon And Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "History's deadliest air raid happened in Tokyo during World War II and you've probably never heard of it," 7 Mar. 2020 Using napalm and other incendiary devices, the ship was set ablaze on Feb. 10, but only one of the five diesel tanks on board was successfully emptied of fuel. oregonlive, "Napalm, a torpedo and 70,000 gallons of spilled oil: An environmental disaster on the Oregon coast, 21 years later," 4 Feb. 2020 Take the case of Dow Chemical Company, which in 1965 accepted a $5 million Department of Defense contract to manufacture the flammable gel napalm during the Vietnam War. New York Times, "‘Techlash’ Hits College Campuses," 11 Jan. 2020 The Vietnam War brought the helicopter gunship, napalm, and chemical defoliants. David Oshinsky, The New York Review of Books, "‘The Human Mind Was Not Made for War’," 28 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That bridge was napalmed with Antonio Brown’s gameday tweet on Robert Kraft. Albert Breer,, "Jameis Winston, Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers’ Quarterback Situation," 3 Oct. 2019 The entire Texas defense was napalmed in that 45-38 loss at Royal-Memorial Stadium, the line included. Nick Moyle,, "Texas DT Keondre Coburn is feeling himself," 17 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'napalm.' 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 napalm


1942, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1950, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for napalm


naphthene + palmitate

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Time Traveler for napalm

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The first known use of napalm was in 1942

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Statistics for napalm

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Napalm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for napalm


How to pronounce napalm (audio) How to pronounce napalm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of napalm

: a thick substance that contains gasoline and that is used in bombs that cause a destructive fire over a wide area

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More from Merriam-Webster on napalm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with napalm

Britannica English: Translation of napalm for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about napalm

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