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

Definition of nitrocellulose

: any of several nitric-acid esters of cellulose used especially for making explosives, plastics, and varnishes

Examples of nitrocellulose in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Zamyatin had left socialist pamphlets under his bed and nitrocellulose, an explosive, on his windowsill (alongside his staples of sugar and salami). The Economist, "An eerie dystopian prophecy by a disillusioned Bolshevik," 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., "FBI makes arrest connected to suspicious packages sent to federal buildings," 28 Mar. 2018 The chemical, nitrocellulose, is used in nail polish and lacquer. Javier C. HernÁndez, New York Times, "Tianjin, a Port in China, Is Rocked by Explosions That Killed Dozens AUG. 12, 2015," 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, "Tianjin, a Port in China, Is Rocked by Explosions That Killed Dozens AUG. 12, 2015," 5 Feb. 2016

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.

See More

First Known Use of nitrocellulose

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nitrocellulose

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nitrocellulose

Share nitrocellulose

Statistics for nitrocellulose

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nitrocellulose

The first known use of nitrocellulose was in 1868

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nitrocellulose


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

Medical Definition of nitrocellulose

More from Merriam-Webster on nitrocellulose Encyclopedia article about nitrocellulose

Comments on nitrocellulose

What made you want to look up nitrocellulose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!