A white waxy substance, resembling spermaceti, tasteless and odorless, and obtained from coal tar, wood tar, petroleum, etc., by distillation. It is used as an illuminant and lubricant. It is very inert, not being acted upon by most of the strong chemical reagents. It was formerly regarded as a definite compound, but is now known to be a complex mixture of several higher hydrocarbons of the methane or marsh-gas series; hence, by extension, any substance, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, of the same chemical series; thus coal gas and kerosene consist largely of paraffins.
- A waxy white or colorless solid hydrocarbon mixture used to make candles, wax paper, lubricants, and sealing materials. Also called paraffin wax.
- Chemistry A member of the alkane series.
- Chiefly British Kerosene.
- To saturate, impregnate, or coat with paraffin.