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[kam-fer] /ˈkæm fər/
noun, Chemistry, Pharmacology
a whitish, translucent, crystalline, pleasant-odored terpene ketone, C 10 H 16 O, obtained from the camphor tree, used chiefly in the manufacture of celluloid and in medicine as a counter-irritant for infections and in the treatment of pain and itching.
any substance having medicinal or aromatic characteristics similar to those of camphor.
Origin of camphor
1275-1325; < Medieval Latin, New Latin camphoraArabic kāfūr < Malay kapur chalk, lime, camphor; replacing Middle English caumfre < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin
Related forms
[kam-fuh-rey-shuh s] /ˌkæm fəˈreɪ ʃəs/ (Show IPA),
[kam-fawr-ik, -for-] /kæmˈfɔr ɪk, -ˈfɒr-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for camphor
Contemporary Examples
  • Imperial Kitchen, a restaurant in Hong Kong, makes my favorite version: smoked Peking duck with camphor wood spices.

    Fresh Picks Susur Lee December 7, 2009
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for camphor


a whitish crystalline aromatic terpene ketone obtained from the wood of the camphor tree or made from pinene: used in the manufacture of celluloid and in medicine as a liniment and treatment for colds. Formula: C10H16O
Derived Forms
camphoric (kæmˈfɒrɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Old French camphre, from Medieval Latin camphora, from Arabic kāfūr, from Malay kāpūr chalk; related to Khmer kāpōr camphor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for camphor

substance extensively used in medicine, early 14c., caumfre, from Old French camphre, from Medieval Latin camfora, from Arabic kafur, perhaps via Sanskrit karpuram, from Malay kapur "camphor tree." Related: Camphorated.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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camphor in Medicine

camphor cam·phor (kām'fər)
An aromatic crystalline compound obtained from the wood or leaves of the camphor tree or synthesized and used as an insect repellent and in external preparations to relieve mild pain and itching.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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camphor in Science
A white, gumlike, crystalline compound that has a strong odor. Camphor is volatile and is used as an insect repellent and in making plastics and explosives. Chemical formula: C10H16O.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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