naph·​tha·​lene | \ ˈnaf-thə-ˌlēn , nonstandard ˈnap-\

Definition of naphthalene

: a crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon C10H8 usually obtained by distillation of coal tar and used especially in organic synthesis

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Examples of naphthalene in a Sentence

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The Washington Post reported Thursday that tests on the doughnuts showed the chemical naphthalene, which can be fatal. Fox News, "Police probe whether estranged husband poisoned doughnuts," 11 May 2018 Researchers believe that about half of the carbon remains in its pure form while the rest of it binds with hydrogen, creating either greasy aliphatic carbon or gaseous naphthalene, the stuff used in mothballs. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Our Galaxy Is Really Greasy and Smells Like Moth Balls," 28 June 2018 Tests performed on the pastries showed the presence of naphthalene, a chemical that is commonly found in mothballs and can be harmful or even fatal if ingested in larger doses, according to the search warrant. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, "Police investigate whether father gave children poisoned doughnuts to take to his estranged wife," 10 May 2018 Even if the pollutants for which that's an issue are ignored, Precision Castparts' release of benzene, 1,3-butadiene, naphthalene and formaldehyde are high enough that the state would require additional scrutiny, our analysis shows. Rob Davis,, "Why Oregon's new clean air law may not clean the air," 17 Mar. 2018 Your grandma's favorite method is on the outs now that many experts consider the chemicals — naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene — a health risk. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Moths," 31 Jan. 2018 California already considers the pesticides known carcinogens, and the European Union has banned naphthalene. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Moths," 31 Jan. 2018 Chemicals left over from their operations — including cancer-causing substances such as benzene and naphthalene — lay buried beneath layers of rubble, dirt and pavement as the Marina District filled up with homes. David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, "PG&E wants to remove a marina from SF’s Marina district," 26 Jan. 2018 People who stood over melting bitumen would have breathed in the same concentration of naphthalene that’s produced by about 1.5 cigarettes. Mira Abed,, "Scientists make water bottles the old-fashioned way to see if they were toxic to early Californians," 24 June 2017

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

1821, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for naphthalene

alteration of earlier naphthaline, irregular from naphtha

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The first known use of naphthalene was in 1821

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More Definitions for naphthalene


naph·​tha·​lene | \ -ˌlēn \

Medical Definition of naphthalene

: a crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon C10H8 usually obtained by distillation of coal tar and used especially in organic synthesis and formerly as a topical and intestinal antiseptic

Other Words from naphthalene

naphthalenic \ ˌnaf-​thə-​ˈlen-​ik , ˌnap-​ , -​ˈlēn-​ \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on naphthalene

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

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a servile follower or underling

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