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[ker-uh-seen, kar-, ker-uh-seen, kar-] /ˈkɛr əˌsin, ˈkær-, ˌkɛr əˈsin, ˌkær-/
a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained by distilling petroleum, bituminous shale, or the like, and widely used as a fuel, cleaning solvent, etc.
using or fueled by kerosene:
a kerosene lamp.
Also, kerosine.
1852; irregular < Greek kērós wax + -ene; formerly trademark Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for kerosene
  • kerosene is an oil used as a fuel for lamps, as well as heating and cooking.
  • And then there's the fact algal kerosene still costs more than the stuff refined from petroleum.
  • Ask a developer of off-grid lighting about a solar lantern and he'll tell you about a kerosene tragedy.
  • The initial thrust is provided by the nine-engine cluster, fuelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen.
  • Brides with a yen for kerosene lamps or kayaks can now register their wishes in the latest entry into the gift registry business.
  • Soap, axe-heads and kerosene are all much more expensive in remote hamlets than in the big cities.
  • Cozy in its remote location, the lodge's electricity-free cabins are lit with kerosene lanterns.
  • The heavy lifting is done by the nine-engine cluster, fuelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen.
  • The only light in view is that of the kerosene lamp by my side and bright stars.
  • The main danger with swallowing kerosene is accidentally swallowing it into your lungs.
British Dictionary definitions for kerosene


Also called paraffin. a liquid mixture consisting mainly of alkane hydrocarbons with boiling points in the range 150°–300°C, used as an aircraft fuel, in domestic heaters, and as a solvent
the general name for paraffin as a fuel for jet aircraft
Usage note
The spelling kerosine is now the preferred form in technical and industrial usage
Word Origin
C19: from Greek kēros wax + -ene
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 kerosene

1852, coined irregularly by Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner (1797-1864), who discovered how to distill it c.1846, from Greek keros "wax" + chemical suffix -ene. So called because it contains paraffin (hence the British English name, paraffin oil).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kerosene in Science
A thin, light-colored oil that is a mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. The hydrocarbons in kerosene contain between 11 and 12 carbon atoms. Kerosene is used as a fuel in lamps, home heaters and furnaces, and jet engines.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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