paraffin

noun
par·​af·​fin | \ ˈper-ə-fən How to pronounce paraffin (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of paraffin

1a : a waxy crystalline flammable substance obtained especially from distillates of wood, coal, petroleum, or shale oil that is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and is used chiefly in coating and sealing, in candles, in rubber compounding, and in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
b : any of various mixtures of similar hydrocarbons including mixtures that are semisolid or oily
2 : alkane
3 chiefly British : kerosene

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from paraffin

paraffinic \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈfi-​nik How to pronounce paraffinic (audio) , pa-​rə-​ \ adjective

Examples of paraffin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Igloo’s 16-quart Recool replaces the nearly indestructible petrochemical with a mixture of recycled wood pulp and paraffin wax. Popular Science, "The 10 most thrilling recreation innovations of 2019," 3 Dec. 2019 Those tissues—pieces of the deceased’s lungs, heart, and so on—might be kept for six months to a year, or preserved in paraffin wax and stored for several years. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, "You’ll Probably Never Know If You Had the Coronavirus in January," 8 May 2020 Some Russian oil is naturally saturated with paraffin wax and warm enough to flow. Andrew E. Kramer, BostonGlobe.com, "Too cold for an oil cut? Russia’s move reveals a long-running bluff," 4 May 2020 After harvesting his weed between March and May, Clementi fills hundreds of packets and seals them with the flame from a paraffin lamp and the rounded end of a spoon. Loni Prinsloo And Janice Kew/ Bloomberg, Time, "One of the Poorest Countries in Africa Wants to Send Its Legal Marijuana All Over the World," 19 Dec. 2019 The improbably relaxing headset comes off after 10 minutes, then on go paraffin foot and hand masks. Andrea Bennett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Forget Gambling and Partying: Spas are the New Reason to Visit Las Vegas," 26 Feb. 2020 The ethane family, called alkanes, includes propane, methane, and paraffin. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "We Don't Need to Be Afraid of Depleted Uranium," 13 Jan. 2020 For several weeks this year, she was forced to use candles and paraffin when the whole area’s power supply was cut off after a high proportion of residents defaulted on their electricity payments. New York Times, "Soweto, Once Unified Against Apartheid, Is Now Divided by Wealth," 29 Sep. 2019 Deep condition your hair and put paraffin wax on your hands. Usa Today Life Staff, USA TODAY, "100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic," 16 Mar. 2020

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

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for paraffin

German, from Latin parum too little (akin to Greek pauros little, paid-, pais child) + affinis bordering on — more at few, affinity

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about paraffin

Time Traveler for paraffin

Time Traveler

The first known use of paraffin was in 1835

See more words from the same year

Statistics for paraffin

Last Updated

6 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paraffin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paraffin. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for paraffin

paraffin

noun
How to pronounce paraffin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paraffin

: a soft, waxy substance that is usually made from petroleum or coal and is used in candles and other products

paraffin

noun
par·​af·​fin | \ ˈper-ə-fən How to pronounce paraffin (audio) \

Kids Definition of paraffin

: a white waxy substance obtained from wood, coal, or petroleum and used in coating and sealing and in candles

paraffin

noun
par·​af·​fin | \ ˈpar-ə-fən How to pronounce paraffin (audio) \

Medical Definition of paraffin

1a : a waxy crystalline flammable substance obtained especially from distillates of wood, coal, petroleum, or shale oil that is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and is used chiefly in coating and sealing, in candles, in rubber compounding, and in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
b : any of various mixtures of similar hydrocarbons including mixtures that are semisolid or oily
2 : alkane

Other Words from paraffin

paraffinic \ ˌpar-​ə-​ˈfin-​ik How to pronounce paraffinic (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on paraffin

Spanish Central: Translation of paraffin

Nglish: Translation of paraffin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about paraffin

Comments on paraffin

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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