- any member of the alkane series.
- one of the higher members of the alkane series, solid at ordinary temperatures, having a boiling point above 300°C, which largely constitutes the commercial form of this substance.
verb (used with object)
Examples from the Web for paraffin
On light-weight goods the softener giving the most general satisfaction is paraffin.Textiles|William H. Dooley
Pour it into glasses and put it in the sunshine for two days, then cover with paraffin and put it away.Living on a Little|Caroline French Benton
A paraffin test was also run of Oswald's cheek and it produced a negative result.Warren Commission (3 of 26): Hearings Vol. III (of 15)|The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
The Captain groaned, but what he said more Julia did not hear; she went out into the kitchen to get paraffin.The Good Comrade|Una L. Silberrad
The best fuel, taking everything into consideration, is a paraffin candle in cold climates, and a stearine candle in hot ones.The A B C of Mining|Charles A. Bramble
British Dictionary definitions for paraffin
less commonly paraffine (ˈpærəˌfiːn)
Word Origin for paraffin
Word Origin and History for paraffin
1838, from German Paraffin, coined c.1830 by German chemist Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1869), who first obtained it as a waxy substance from wood tar, irregularly from Latin parum "not very, too little," probably related to parvus "little, small" (see parvi-) + affinis "associated with" (see affinity).
So called because paraffin is chemically not closely related to other substances. The liquid form (originally parafin oil) Reichenbach called eupion, but this was the standard meaning of paraffin in English by 1860.