a white or colorless, tasteless, odorless, water-insoluble, solid substance not easily acted upon by reagents, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons chiefly of the alkane series, obtained from crude petroleum: used in candles, for forming preservative coatings and seals, for waterproofing paper, etc.
any member of the alkane series.
one of the higher members of the alkane series, solid at ordinary temperatures, having a boiling point above 300°C, which largely constitutes the commercial form of this substance.
Also called paraffin oil, (esp US and Canadian) kerosene. 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
1838, from Ger. Paraffin, coined c.1830 by Ger. chemist Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1869) from L. parum "not very, too little" + affinis "associated with." So called because paraffin is chemically not closely related to other substances.