[ pe-troh-kem-i-kuh l ]
/ ˌpɛ troʊˈkɛm ɪ kəl /


a chemical substance obtained from petroleum or natural gas, as gasoline, kerosene, or petrolatum.


of or relating to petrochemistry or a petrochemical.

Nearby words

  1. petro,
  2. petro-,
  3. petrobrusian,
  4. petrobutanol,
  5. petroccipital,
  6. petrochemistry,
  7. petrodollar,
  8. petrodollars,
  9. petrog.,
  10. petrogenesis

Origin of petrochemical

First recorded in 1910–15; petro-2 + chemical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for petrochemical

British Dictionary definitions for petrochemical


/ (ˌpɛtrəʊˈkɛmɪkəl) /


any substance, such as acetone or ethanol, obtained from petroleum or natural gas


of, concerned with, or obtained from petrochemicals or related to petrochemistry
Derived Formspetrochemically, adverb

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

Word Origin and History for petrochemical



1913, from petro- (1) + chemical (adj.). As a noun from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for petrochemical


[ pĕt′rō-kĕmĭ-kəl ]

Any of a large number of chemicals made from petroleum or natural gas. Important petrochemicals include benzene, ammonia, acetylene, and polystyrene. Petrochemicals are used to produce a wide variety of materials, such as plastics, explosives, fertilizers, and synthetic fibers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for petrochemical


[ (pet-roh-kem-i-kuhl) ]

Any material made from substances found in oil or natural gas. Most plastics are petrochemicals.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.