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inflammable liquid distilled from petroleum, 1570s, from Latin, from Greek naphtha "bitumen," perhaps from Persian neft "pitch," or Aramaic naphta, nephta, but these could as well be from Greek. In Middle English as napte (late 14c.), from Old French napte, but the modern word is a re-introduction.
naphtha naph·tha (nāf'thə, nāp'-)
Any of several highly volatile, flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons distilled from petroleum, coal tar, or natural gas and used as solvents and in making various chemicals.
any of various volatile, highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures used chiefly as solvents and diluents and as raw materials for conversion to gasoline. Naphtha was the name originally applied to the more volatile kinds of petroleum issuing from the ground in the Baku district of Azerbaijan and Iran. As early as the 1st century AD, naphtha was mentioned by the Greek writer Dioscorides and the Roman writer Pliny the Elder. Alchemists used the word principally to distinguish various mobile liquids of low boiling point, including certain ethers and esters.