[ nahy-truh-sel-yuh-lohs ]

  1. any of a group of nitric esters of cellulose, used in the manufacture of lacquers and explosives: used as a film base in the early days of filmmaking, nitrocellulose is now a common component of multilayered film structures, especially cellophane.

Origin of nitrocellulose

First recorded in 1880–85; nitro- + cellulose

Other words from nitrocellulose

  • ni·tro·cel·lu·lo·sic, ni·tro·cel·lu·lous, adjective

Words Nearby nitrocellulose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use nitrocellulose in a sentence

  • Contains nitrocellulose insoluble and soluble, metallic nitrates, and vaseline.

  • Noddite: a strip sporting-rifle powder containing nitroglycerine, nitrocellulose, mineral jelly.

  • These nitrates are variously known as nitrocellulose, pyroxylin, and gun cotton.

  • One of these dopes was nitrate in character and was made from nitrocellulose and certain wood-chemical solvents including alcohol.

  • In fact, it would be impossible to use a smokeless powder made of pure nitrocellulose in big guns without the multi-perforations.

    Dynamite Stories | Hudson Maxim

British Dictionary definitions for nitrocellulose


/ (ˌnaɪtrəʊˈsɛljʊˌləʊs) /

  1. another name (not in chemical usage) for cellulose nitrate

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

Scientific definitions for nitrocellulose


[ nī′trō-sĕlyə-lōs′ ]

  1. A pulpy or cottonlike polymer derived from cellulose treated with sulfuric and nitric acids. It is used in the manufacture of explosives, plastics, and solid propellants.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.