Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A waxy white or colorless solid hydrocarbon mixture used to make candles, wax paper, lubricants, and sealing materials. Also called paraffin wax.
  • n. Chemistry A member of the alkane series.
  • n. Chiefly British Kerosene.
  • transitive v. To saturate, impregnate, or coat with paraffin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A petroleum based thin and colorless fuel oil, (kerosene in US English).
  • n. Any member of the alkane hydrocarbons.
  • n. paraffin wax.
  • v. To impregnate or treat with paraffin

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A white waxy substance, resembling spermaceti, tasteless and odorless, and obtained from coal tar, wood tar, petroleum, etc., by distillation. It is used in candles, as a sealing agent (such as in canning of preserves), as a waterproofing agent, as an illuminant and as a lubricant. It is very inert, not being acted upon by most of the strong chemical reagents. It was formerly regarded as a definite compound, but is now known to be a complex mixture of several higher hydrocarbons of the methane or marsh-gas series; hence, by extension, any substance, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, of the same chemical series; thus gasoline, coal gas and kerosene consist largely of paraffins.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To coat or impregnate with paraffin; treat with paraffin.
  • n. The collective name for compounds of the marsh-gas series which have the general formula CnH2n + 2—that is, two more than twice as many hydrogen atoms as carbon atoms.
  • n. Specifically, in com. and manufacturing, a substance obtained by the dry distillation of wood, peat, bituminous coal, wax, etc.
  • n. Petroleum or kerosene.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a series of non-aromatic saturated hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH(2n+2)
  • n. (British usage) kerosine
  • n. from crude petroleum; used for candles and for preservative or waterproof coatings

Etymologies

German : Latin parum, little, not very; + Latin affīnis, associated with (from its lack of affinity with other materials); see affined.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin paraffinum from parum (too little) + affinis (related, affinity). Therefore low affinity or being chemically neutral (Wiktionary)

Examples

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