[pe-troh-kem-i-kuh l]
  1. of or relating to petrochemistry or a petrochemical.

Origin of petrochemical

First recorded in 1910–15; petro-2 + chemical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for petrochemical

Contemporary Examples of petrochemical

British Dictionary definitions for petrochemical


  1. any substance, such as acetone or ethanol, obtained from petroleum or natural gas
  1. 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

petrochemical in Science


  1. 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.

petrochemical in Culture



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.