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

  • n. A thin oil distilled from petroleum or shale oil, used as a fuel for heating and cooking, in lamps, and as a denaturant for alcohol. Also called coal oil, lamp oil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A petroleum based thin and colorless fuel; (UK) paraffin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An oil used for illuminating purposes, formerly obtained from the distillation of mineral wax, bituminous shale, etc., and hence called also coal oil. It is now produced in immense quantities, chiefly by the distillation and purification of petroleum. It consists chiefly of several hydrocarbons of the methane series, having from 10 to 16 carbon atoms in each molecule, and having a higher boiling point (175 - 325° C) than gasoline or the petroleum ethers, and a lower boling point than the oils.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mixture of liquid hydrocarbons distilled from petroleum, coal, bitumen, etc., extensively used as an illuminating fluid in all parts of the world.

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

  • n. a flammable hydrocarbon oil used as fuel in lamps and heaters


Greek kēros, wax + -ene.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek κηρός ("wax") +‎ -ene. (Wiktionary)



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  • The slang word for kerosene in Australia and New Zealand is 'kero' (Land's Edge:A Coastal Memoir, by Tim Winton).

    March 19, 2012