paraffin

noun
par·af·fin | \ ˈper-ə-fən , 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

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Other words from paraffin

paraffinic \ˌper-ə-ˈfi-nik, pa-rə- \ adjective

Examples of paraffin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Workmen created these early artificial straws by winding paper around a thin cylindrical form, then covering them in paraffin. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Disposable America," 21 June 2018 Then, using a special instrument, a microtome, the technician would slice the paraffin block into ultrathin sections, about 0.0002 inches thick. Lynne Parenti, Smithsonian, "How the Smithsonian’s Coelacanth Lost Its Brain and Got It Back Again," 14 Mar. 2018 Instead of food, the warmer’s vessels are filled with paraffin wax, which is liquefied by the heat. The Economist, "A pasteurisation machine for breast milk," 3 May 2018 Walter recalls making chocolate eggs as a child with paraffin wax as a tempering agent — a memory that as a small-batch chocolatier now gives her chills. Elisa Ludwig, Philly.com, "How to make your own Easter candy at home," 26 Mar. 2018 Trade in the paraffin kind, which can release icky chemicals like alkens and toluene, for a cleaner burn with beeswax. Allison Young, Sunset, "Top 10 Holistic Home Products," 22 Jan. 2018 The gentle treatment, which includes a lymphatic drainage massage before a layer of copper moisturizer is applied under a paraffin mask, can also reduce the redness and flaking caused by popular laser treatments like Fraxel. Emily Dudding, Harper's BAZAAR, "Copper: The New Skin Saver," 13 Mar. 2014 When the spacecraft is in lunar orbit, Cornwell and Boroson will open the lid to the lasercomm space terminal by radioing a command to the spacecraft to heat up the paraffin wax holding the lid on. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "4 More Hurdles the LADEE Moon Mission Must Clear," 9 Sep. 2013 The workers were using steam to clear paraffin from the oil flow lines when an explosion and fire broke out. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "Five-day search for Lake Pontchartrain oilfield worker ends with body's discovery," 20 Oct. 2017

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for paraffin

The first known use of paraffin was in 1835

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More Definitions for paraffin

paraffin

noun

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on paraffin

Spanish Central: Translation of paraffin

Nglish: Translation of paraffin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about paraffin

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