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[ney-pahm] /ˈneɪ pɑm/
a highly incendiary jellylike substance used in fire bombs, flamethrowers, etc.
verb (used with object)
to drop bombs containing napalm on (troops, a city, or the like).
Origin of napalm
An Americanism dating back to 1940-45; na(phthene) + palm(itate) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for napalm
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Two Pyrrans were rolling out drums of napalm with reckless disregard for their own safety.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • Clenching the gun in his teeth, the Pyrran clutched a barrel of napalm with his good hand and hurled it over on its side.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • The napalm caught, tongues of flame and roiling, greasy smoke climbed up to the sky.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • Burning wax was hotter than melted lead, and it stuck to anything it touched, worse than napalm.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • The napalm drums were unloaded without his help and the truck vanished for more.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for napalm


/ˈneɪpɑːm; ˈnæ-/
a thick and highly incendiary liquid, usually consisting of petrol gelled with aluminium soaps, used in firebombs, flame-throwers, etc
(transitive) to attack with napalm
Word Origin
C20: from na(phthene) + palm(itate)
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 napalm

1942, from na(phthenic) palm(itic) acids, used in manufacture of the chemical that thickens gasoline. The verb is 1950, from the noun. Related: Napalmed; napalming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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napalm in Science
A firm jelly made by mixing gasoline with aluminum salts (made of fatty acids). It is used in some bombs and in flamethrowers. Napalm was developed during World War II.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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