- 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)
Origin of paraffin
Examples from the Web for paraffin
Historical Examples of paraffin
The necessity for this coating of sulphur or paraffin you will understand by an experiment.The Story of a Tinder-box
Charles Meymott Tidy
The hot water will heat the turpentine, and the turpentine will melt the paraffin.
Then pile your tent into a tub and pour in the turpentine and paraffin mixture.
The paraffin must be removed by toluol before proceeding further.Histology of the Blood
After about one minute the paper may be thrust below the paraffin to soak.On Laboratory Arts
less commonly paraffine (ˈpærəˌfiːn)
Word Origin 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.