ni·​tro·​cel·​lu·​lose ˌnī-trō-ˈsel-yə-ˌlōs How to pronounce nitrocellulose (audio)
: any of several nitric-acid esters of cellulose used especially for making explosives, plastics, and varnishes

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Demand for high-quality nitrocellulose membrane, the off-white fabric that forms the actual lateral flow test strip, has skyrocketed during the pandemic for test kits and its use in other medical devices. NBC News, 20 Jan. 2022 Other potential allergens in gel polish formulas include nitrocellulose, tosylamide formaldehyde, camphor, dibutyl pthalate, and solvents such as acetone or dyes, says Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, 22 Apr. 2021 For each explosion, the pyrotechnist produced a custom thermite mix from his extensive chemical library, wrapped it in nitrocellulose (flash paper), suspended it from a wire, and lit the fuse. Wired, 31 Oct. 2019 The original version was filmed between five and six frames per second on celluloid, a plastic material derived from camphor and nitrocellulose, and the entire film was digitized at nine frames per second to produce a higher quality picture. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 3 June 2019 Zamyatin had left socialist pamphlets under his bed and nitrocellulose, an explosive, on his windowsill (alongside his staples of sugar and salami). The Economist, 31 May 2018 The criminal complaint says investigators found a letter, a fuse, a GPS device and a half-ounce vial containing black powder that tested positive for the flammable compound nitrocellulose in the package that arrived in Baltimore., 28 Mar. 2018 The chemical, nitrocellulose, is used in nail polish and lacquer. Javier C. HernÁndez, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2016 Rui Hai was storing more than 11,000 tons of hazardous goods at its warehouse before the disaster, including more than 200 tons of nitrocellulose and 800 tons of ammonium nitrate, far in excess of what was allowed, the investigation found. Javier C. HernÁndez, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2016 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nitrocellulose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1868, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nitrocellulose was in 1868

Dictionary Entries Near nitrocellulose

Cite this Entry

“Nitrocellulose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition


ni·​tro·​cel·​lu·​lose -ˈsel-yə-ˌlōs, -ˌlōz How to pronounce nitrocellulose (audio)

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