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 All told, nearly 300 B-29 bombers dropped 500,000 cylinders of napalm on Tokyo. Bob Carden,, 1 Sep. 2022 Already, the Berrigans each had served years-long prison sentences for stealing hundreds of draft cards and destroying them with homemade napalm. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 24 May 2022 The American military’s horrific tactics—spraying napalm, carpet bombing, massacring civilians—were shocking enough, but to see so many young Americans dying on the evening news was much too upsetting, according to the great minds of the Pentagon. John R. Macarthur, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 White phosphorus is bad enough, but some have identified the weapon as something even worse: a Soviet-era anti-personnel weapon which scatters hundreds of miniature napalm bombs. David Hambling, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 Some military scholars have argued that even napalm is a more humane alternative. Rachel Lance, Wired, 20 Mar. 2022 The United States’ use of napalm in Vietnam created international outrage. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 The stark images quickly became a symbol of the brutality in Ukraine, as indelible as other visceral moments from previous conflicts: the sobbing children fleeing napalm in Vietnam, the young woman keening over dead students at Kent State. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In 1980, the United Nations banned the use of weapons like napalm against civilians, but these regulations don’t apply on the battlefield. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 June 2022 That bridge was napalmed with Antonio Brown’s gameday tweet on Robert Kraft. Albert Breer,, 3 Oct. 2019 The entire Texas defense was napalmed in that 45-38 loss at Royal-Memorial Stadium, the line included. Nick Moyle,, 17 Sep. 2019 See More

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.

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

Learn More About napalm

Dictionary Entries Near napalm

napa leather


napa thistle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for napalm

Last Updated

13 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Napalm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on napalm

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

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