kerosene (n.)

"mixture of liquid hydrocarbons used as an illuminating or heating fluid," 1852, from Greek keros "wax" (see cere) + chemical suffix -ene. Coined irregularly by Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner (1797-1864), who discovered how to distill it c. 1846. So called because it contains paraffin (hence the British English name, paraffin oil).

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