[bey-kuh-lahyt, beyk-lahyt]
a brand name for any of a series of thermosetting plastics prepared by heating phenol or cresol with formaldehyde and ammonia under pressure: used for radio cabinets, telephone receivers, electric insulators, and molded plastic ware. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Bakelite
World English Dictionary
Bakelite (ˈbeɪkəˌlaɪt)
trademark any one of a class of thermosetting resins used as electric insulators and for making plastic ware, telephone receivers, etc
[C20: named after L. H. Baekeland (1863--1944), Belgian-born US inventor; see -ite1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

type of plastic widely used early 20c., 1909, from Ger. Bakelit, named for Belgian-born physicist Leo Baekeland (1863-1944), who invented it.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


synthetic resin formed from the chemical combination of phenols and formaldehydes. Bakelite is a hard, infusible, and chemically resistant plastic whose properties as a nonconductor of electricity have made it exceptionally useful in all sorts of electrical appliances. It is used in many industrial applications as an electrical insulator, in molding and casting operations, as an adhesive, and in paints and baked-enamel coatings. Phenol-formaldehyde resins are indispensable in manufacturing chemical equipment, machine and instrument housings, bottle closures, and many machine and electrical components.

Learn more about Bakelite with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature