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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Specifically, in com. and manufacturing, a substance obtained by the dry distillation of wood, peat, bituminous coal, wax, etc.
  • noun Petroleum or kerosene.
  • To coat or impregnate with paraffin; treat with paraffin.

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

  • noun (Chem.) 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.
  • noun See Ozocerite.
  • noun See Methane series, under Methane.

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

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

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

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


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

[German : Latin parum, little, not very; see pau- in Indo-European roots + Latin affīnis, associated with (from its lack of affinity with other materials); see affined.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin paraffinum from parum (too little) + affinis (related, affinity). Therefore low affinity or being chemically neutral



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