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

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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

Wax paper is made with paraffin wax and should not be used with heat. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Does a choking hazard stem from this?," 3 July 2019 The blaze spread quickly, fueled by a mixture of gasoline and paraffin wax that was used to waterproof the tent. USA TODAY, "Women in baseball, Lynyrd Skynyrd, circus fire: News from around our 50 states," 1 July 2019 The tingling formula promises to absorb excess oil with bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills, green tea leaves from Japan, and organic community-trade tea tree oil from Kenya — and without parabens, paraffin, silicone, or mineral oil. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Body Shop’s Charcoal Mask Is Sold Once Every 15 Seconds," 18 May 2019 Writers often cite a 2009 study by South Carolina State University researchers that claimed that paraffin wax releases harmful chemicals such as toluene. Sam Gutierrez, House Beautiful, "Are Your Favorite Candles Slowly Poisoning You?," 26 Dec. 2018 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

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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Statistics for paraffin

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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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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