Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An aluminum soap of various fatty acids that when mixed with gasoline makes a firm jelly used in some bombs and in flamethrowers.
  • noun This jelly.
  • noun An incendiary mixture of gasoline or other petroleum fuel and a thickener or gel-forming agent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A highly incediary liquid consisting of gasoline jelled with aluminum soaps, used as a weapon of war in fire bombs and flame throwers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A highly flammable, viscous substance, (designed to stick to the body while burning), used in warfare to cause widespread death and destruction, especially in wooded areas.
  • verb transitive To spray or attack an area using such substance.

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

  • noun gasoline jelled with aluminum soaps; highly incendiary liquid used in fire bombs and flamethrowers

Etymologies

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

[na(phthenate), salt of naphthenic acid (from naphthene) + palm(itate).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Formed from na(phthenic) palm(itic) acid, the two original components of the substance.

Examples

  • The most effective incendiary weapon was called napalm.

    Whirlwind

  • The most effective incendiary weapon was called napalm.

    Whirlwind

  • And for those who feel the need to defend their perimeter with fougasse, the Army Chemical Corps expedient recipe for improvised napalm is to mix powdered laundry detergent with gasoline until it has a consistency like applesauce.

    A Gunpowder Plot At The History Channel?

  • Originally the name napalm was given to a thickener that could be mixed with gasoline and other incendiary material.

    1968 the Year that Rocked the World

  • Tubes belched jellied gasoline, what used to be called napalm, at the uncomprehending Cardassians.

    REBELS: THE LIBERATED, BOOK III OF III

  • Tubes belched jellied gasoline, what used to be called napalm, at the uncomprehending Cardassians.

    REBELS: THE LIBERATED, BOOK III OF III

  • Unlike napalm, which is designed to set large areas ablaze, and which the U.S. no longer uses, white phosphorus is usually employed to mark a target or produce a smoke screen to hide troop movements.

    CNN Transcript Nov 16, 2005

  • Unlike napalm, which is designed to set large areas ablaze, and which the U.S. no longer uses, white phosphorus is usually employed to mark a target or produce a smoke screen to hide troop movements.

    CNN Transcript Nov 16, 2005

  • Unlike napalm, which is designed to set large areas ablaze, and which the U.S. no longer uses white phosphorus is used to mark a target or produce a smoke screen to hide troop movements.

    CNN Transcript Nov 16, 2005

  • And I don't think there's much moral distinction between being incinerated in the hundreds of thousands by napalm, which is what we were dropping on

    Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression & War

Comments

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  • "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Apocalypse Now.

    February 20, 2008

  • "As long as you send our young brothers, our young lovers, to strangle their souls, petrify their hearts, twist their heads out of shape killing and torturing women and babies in Vietnam, knot up their manhood and dry out their sperm in showers of napalm, to forget the blind and gentle cock and learn the supersonic rifle and flame-thrower, for that long you're not safe, and probably for longer."

    - 'Dear John', Germaine Greer, circa 1969.

    March 28, 2008