poly·​eth·​yl·​ene | \ ˌpä-lē-ˈe-thə-ˌlēn How to pronounce polyethylene (audio) \

Definition of polyethylene

: a polymer of ethylene especially : any of various partially crystalline lightweight thermoplastics (CH2CH2)x that are resistant to chemicals and moisture, have good insulating properties, and are used especially in packaging and insulation

Examples of polyethylene in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Among the most striking pieces were the pink and yellow Pop Medusa Chairs made of all-weather polyethylene, with a cast of Versace’s Medusa head adorning their backs. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Most Mesmerizing Design Moments of Salone del Mobile," 18 Apr. 2019 Portable units sit aboveground and are made from fiberglass, polyethylene, or acrylic. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Buy a Hot Tub That Your Whole Family Will Enjoy," 30 Jan. 2019 Thus far, the energy products included in China’s tariffs are propane and polyethylene. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Oil Falls Amid U.S.-China Trade Tensions," 6 Apr. 2018 The result is a compound which, when mixed with polyethylene and heated to about 300℉, turns into a liquid fuel that can be used in diesel engines. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Chemists Figure Out How to Turn Plastic Into Fuel," 20 June 2016 Slat’s device, a high-density polyethylene pipe, travels with the wind, waves, and storms and sweeps up plastic along the way. Tabor Wordelman, Teen Vogue, "You Can't Just "Clean Up" the Plastic in the Ocean. Here's Why.," 18 Dec. 2018 Second, the molecular makeup of plastic wrap — a polyethylene with additional adhesives — changes when it's exposed to a different climate. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Storing Plastic Wrap in the Freezer Makes It WAY Easier to Handle," 31 Oct. 2018 Global demand for products made from polyethylene, such as packaging film, pressure pipe, plastic fuel tanks and wire jacketing, grew 4 percent in the first three months of the year. Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle, "Rising demand lifts LyondellBasell first quarter profits 54 percent," 27 Apr. 2018 Aluminum composite panels with combustible polyethylene cores produced by Arconic were used on the exterior of the tower. Austen Hufford, WSJ, "Arconic Shops Unit That Made Panels in Grenfell Fire," 31 July 2018

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

1862, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for polyethylene

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for polyethylene

The first known use of polyethylene was in 1862

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English Language Learners Definition of polyethylene

US : a light and strong plastic that is used mainly in sheets for packaging


poly·​eth·​yl·​ene | \ ˌpäl-ē-ˈeth-ə-ˌlēn How to pronounce polyethylene (audio) \

Medical Definition of polyethylene

: a polymer of ethylene especially : any of various lightweight thermoplastics (CH2CH2)x that are resistant to chemicals and moisture and are used especially in packaging, insulation, surgical implants, prostheses, and tubing

More from Merriam-Webster on polyethylene

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polyethylene

Comments on polyethylene

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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