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or kerosine

[ker-uh-seen, kar-, ker-uh-seen, kar-] /ˈkɛr əˌsin, ˈkær-, ˌkɛr əˈsin, ˌkær-/
a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained by distilling petroleum, bituminous shale, or the like, and widely used as a fuel, cleaning solvent, etc.
using or fueled by kerosene:
a kerosene lamp.
Origin of kerosene
1852; irregular < Greek kērós wax + -ene; formerly trademark Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kerosene
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were all settin' purrin' in the dark, because they'd forgot to send for any kerosene.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • It seemed to her as if the whole world were nothing but kerosene.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • She was at the kerosene; oh, it makes me just sick to think of it.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • It was believed that this supply had been shipped as kerosene from Saloniki to Piraeus.

  • The bottle was filled with kerosene, and in a jiffy the box was covered with the flame.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
British Dictionary definitions for kerosene


Also called paraffin. a liquid mixture consisting mainly of alkane hydrocarbons with boiling points in the range 150°–300°C, used as an aircraft fuel, in domestic heaters, and as a solvent
the general name for paraffin as a fuel for jet aircraft
Usage note
The spelling kerosine is now the preferred form in technical and industrial usage
Word Origin
C19: from Greek kēros wax + -ene
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kerosene

1852, coined irregularly by Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner (1797-1864), who discovered how to distill it c.1846, from Greek keros "wax" + chemical suffix -ene. So called because it contains paraffin (hence the British English name, paraffin oil).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kerosene in Science
A thin, light-colored oil that is a mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. The hydrocarbons in kerosene contain between 11 and 12 carbon atoms. Kerosene is used as a fuel in lamps, home heaters and furnaces, and jet engines.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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