per·​chlo·​ro·​eth·​y·​lene (ˌ)pər-ˌklȯr-ō-ˈe-thə-ˌlēn How to pronounce perchloroethylene (audio)
: a colorless nonflammable toxic liquid C2Cl4 used often as a solvent in dry cleaning and for removal of grease from metals

Examples of perchloroethylene in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Additional remediation efforts against perchloroethylene, a solvent used in dry cleaning, continued into the 2010s. Evan Bush, NBC News, 25 Feb. 2023 Indoor air testing at Hill’s residence and two others nearby continued to show high levels of PCE, or perchloroethylene, and related chemicals, according to a May report from Wilcox to the IDEM. Amy Lavalley,, 25 Sep. 2020 This project began when residents of this Northeast Denver community saw examples of spills of perchloroethylene (PERC), a solvent commonly used in dry cleaning, potentially endangering health in other Denver neighborhoods. Guest, Discover Magazine, 24 Aug. 2015 But as those companies began storing and disposing of metals, solvents and other waste in the area, known carcinogens such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, hexavalent chromium and 1,4-dioxane trickled into the Valley’s aquifer. Hayley Smithstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2022 In December, a state ban on the toxic cleaning agent perchloroethylene went into effect. Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2021 The operation was shut down in May 2002, and hazardous substances were found at the site, including perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride, chemicals which can cause cancer in humans. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, 25 Nov. 2019 His task had been to create a new product out of hydrocarbon and chlorine, two by-products of manufacturing the dry-cleaning agent perchloroethylene. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, 12 July 2019 Eco-Dry-Clean About 85 percent of dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene (perc for short) that’s linked to respiratory issues, birth defects, and air pollution. Lindsay Talbot, Marie Claire, 19 July 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perchloroethylene.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perchloroethylene was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near perchloroethylene

Cite this Entry

“Perchloroethylene.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


per·​chlo·​ro·​eth·​y·​lene ˌpər-ˌklōr-ō-ˈeth-ə-ˌlēn How to pronounce perchloroethylene (audio)
variants also perchlorethylene
: a toxic nonflammable carcinogenic liquid C2Cl4 often used as a solvent in dry cleaning and for removal of grease from metals

called also perc, tetrachloroethylene

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