poly·​eth·​yl·​ene | \ˌpä-lē-ˈe-thə-ˌlēn \

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

These are made with a plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which consists of a bunch of very small fibers woven together. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Future 'Plastic' Could Be Made From Trees and Crab Shells," 1 Aug. 2018 The most common type was polypropylene, the plastic found in bottle caps, followed by polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the plastic found in the bottles themselves. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Plastic found in the poop of eight people from eight different countries," 24 Oct. 2018 Steil is general counsel for Charter NEX Films Inc., an independent producer of polyethylene film used for food and consumer packaging. Fox News, "The Latest: Ellison wins Minnesota attorney general primary," 14 Aug. 2018 The groups of worms were given 1.8 grams of polystyrene, polyethylene, or both. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "How Worms Can Help Recycle Plastic," 27 May 2018 Look for more durable EVA or Crosslink polyethylene foams, like in the Mystery Ranch Ridge Ruck 25 ($155). Joe Jackson, Outside Online, "What to Splurge on (and Avoid) When Buying Gear," 22 June 2018 That ethylene supply supports the production of polyethylene — the world's most common plastic — at the company's Sweeny complex. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Phillips 66 to launch $1.5 billion expansion of Sweeny hub," 13 June 2018 For some plastics, such as polyethylene, the repeat unit can be just one carbon atom and two hydrogen atoms. National Geographic, "Plastics Explained, From A to Z," 16 May 2018 To capture that profit-margin advantage, DowDuPont's Dow unit has invested billions of dollars on new and expanded factories in the U.S. that convert ethane into ethylene and polyethylene plastics. Bloomberg, Houston Chronicle, "DowDupont earnings jump," 3 May 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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3 Dec 2018

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The first known use of polyethylene was in 1862

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English Language Learners Definition of polyethylene

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


poly·​eth·​yl·​ene | \ˌpäl-ē-ˈeth-ə-ˌlēn \

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 enclose within walls

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