1. a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained by distilling petroleum, bituminous shale, or the like, and widely used as a fuel, cleaning solvent, etc.


  1. using or fueled by kerosene: a kerosene lamp.


  1. 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
  2. the general name for paraffin as a fuel for jet aircraft

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).

  1. 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.
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