pet·​ro·​la·​tum ˌpe-trə-ˈlā-təm How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) -ˈlä- How to pronounce petrolatum (audio)

Examples of petrolatum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The reason these are some of the best lip balms for dry lips is that both use petrolatum to seal in moisture. Carina Finn, Bon Appétit, 18 Jan. 2024 The formula includes petrolatum, beeswax, lanolin, cocoa butter, and castor seed oil to pull this double duty. Rachael Schultz, Health, 12 Apr. 2023 Not only do the brand's formulas boast multiple beneficial actives, but they're also crafted without potentially harmful ingredients like sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance, glute, sulfates, and parabens. Wendy Vazquez, Southern Living, 27 Nov. 2023 Additionally, the formula includes petrolatum, which helps lock in moisture. Danielle Zoellner, Verywell Health, 5 Oct. 2023 The formula is also thick and includes the hydrating ingredient of petrolatum, which helps seal moisture into your skin. Danielle Zoellner, Verywell Health, 5 Oct. 2023 The thick formula includes petrolatum (petroleum jelly) and sorbitol—to draw and seal moisture into your skin. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 28 Aug. 2023 Additionally, Courtney Moseley, a physician’s assistant who specializes in skincare says emollients like shea butter, lanolin, and petrolatum are also highly beneficial. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 20 July 2023 The Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen hydrates your teeth with hydrogen peroxide suspended in a hydrating blend of petrolatum and sorbitan palmitate. Jaylyn Pruitt, Health, 7 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


petrol(eum) + Latin -ātum -ate entry 1

First Known Use

1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of petrolatum was in 1881

Dictionary Entries Near petrolatum

Cite this Entry

“Petrolatum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


pet·​ro·​la·​tum ˌpe-trə-ˈlāt-əm How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) -ˈlät- How to pronounce petrolatum (audio)
: a neutral unctuous substance that is practically odorless and tasteless and is insoluble in water, that is obtained from petroleum and differs chemically from paraffin wax in containing unsaturated hydrocarbons or naphthenes as well as alkanes, and that is produced in several forms: as
: a yellowish to light amber semisolid mass used chiefly as a base for ointments and cosmetics, as a protective dressing, and in lubricating greases

called also petroleum jelly, yellow petrolatum

: a white or faintly yellowish mass obtained by decolorizing yellow petrolatum and used similarly to it

called also petroleum jelly, white petrolatum, white petroleum jelly

More from Merriam-Webster on petrolatum

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