- a white or colorless, tasteless, odorless, water-insoluble, solid substance not easily acted upon by reagents, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons chiefly of the alkane series, obtained from crude petroleum: used in candles, for forming preservative coatings and seals, for waterproofing paper, etc.
- 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.
- Also called paraffin oil. British. kerosene.
- to cover or impregnate with paraffin.
Origin of paraffin
Examples from the Web for paraffin-oil
Mingled with the paraffin-oil all over its person was cold boiled potato.
There was paraffin-oil on its hair, face, arms, frock and feet.
Paraffin-oil is the poorest of all present-day forms of lantern illuminants.Optical Projection
For many years afterwards William associated babies in his mind with paraffin-oil and potato.
less commonly paraffine (ˈpærəˌfiːn)
- to treat with paraffin or paraffin wax
Word Origin and History for paraffin-oil
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.
- A waxy, white or colorless solid mixture of hydrocarbons made from petroleum and used to make candles, wax paper, lubricants, and waterproof coatings. Also called paraffin wax
- See alkane.