per·​chlo·​ro·​eth·​y·​lene | \ (ˌ)pər-ˌklȯr-ō-ˈe-thə-ˌlēn How to pronounce perchloroethylene (audio) \

Definition of perchloroethylene

: 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 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, "Could northwest Houston superfund be affected by flooding?," 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, "The sticky problem of plastic wrap," 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, "Your Everything Guide to a Sustainable Closet," 19 July 2018

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

1873, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about perchloroethylene

Time Traveler for perchloroethylene

Time Traveler

The first known use of perchloroethylene was in 1873

See more words from the same year

Statistics for perchloroethylene

Cite this Entry

“Perchloroethylene.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for perchloroethylene


per·​chlo·​ro·​eth·​y·​lene | \ ˌpər-ˌklōr-ō-ˈeth-ə-ˌlēn How to pronounce perchloroethylene (audio) \
variants: also perchlorethylene \ -​ˌklōr-​ˈeth-​ How to pronounce perchlorethylene (audio) \

Medical Definition of perchloroethylene

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on perchloroethylene Encyclopedia article about perchloroethylene

Comments on perchloroethylene

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!