na·​palm | \ˈnā-ˌpäm, -ˌpälm 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

In 2016, Facebook was criticized for censoring a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning image of a 9-year-old fleeing from napalm. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Facebook says removal of Declaration of Independence from Texas newspaper's page was a mistake," 5 July 2018 On Monday, opposition groups reported that napalm was unleashed on civilians killing up to 60 people. Ben Evansky, Fox News, "Russia halts UN Security Council meeting on Syria's human rights, but US, allies find workaround," 20 Mar. 2018 Facebook has come under the microscope for removing some content in the past, including the famous photo from the Vietnam War that depicts a naked child running away after a napalm attack. Eli Rosenberg,, "Facebook censored a post for ‘hate speech.’ It was the Declaration of Independence," 6 July 2018 In 2016, the social network removed an iconic photo from the Vietnam War, in which a young naked girl is running from a napalm attack. Alyssa Newcomb /, NBC News, "Facebook reinstates Declaration of Independence post after mistakenly flagging it as hate speech," 5 July 2018 In 2016, for example, the company famously blocked a posting of a Pulitzer-prize winning photograph of children fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Facebook Reportedly Apologizes After Flagging the Declaration of Independence as Hate Speech," 5 July 2018 This type of coverage has long roots, from Nick Ut’s famous image of nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running along a road after being burned by napalm, to the starving children of Ethiopia in the 1980s. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "America’s “Poster Child” Syndrome," 20 June 2018 In a speech in 1968 Robert Kennedy complained that measures of output include spending on cigarette advertisements, napalm and the like, while omitting the quality of children’s health and education. The Economist, "Economists focus too little on what people really care about," 3 May 2018 In another instance, moderators removed an iconic Vietnam War photo of a child fleeing a napalm attack, claiming the girl's nudity violated its policies. The Washington Post,, "Facebook explains why it bans some content, in 27 pages," 24 Apr. 2018

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

The first known use of napalm was in 1942

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

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full of whispering sounds

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