- 1. One of the methane series of acyclic hydrocarbons. 2. SYN: hard p.. [L. parum, little, + affinis, neighboring, akin, so called because of its slight tendency to chemical reaction]
* * *par·af·fin 'par-ə-fən n1 a) a waxy crystalline flammable substance obtained esp. from distillates of wood, coal, petroleum, or shale oil that is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and is used chiefly in coating and sealing, in candles, in rubber compounding, and in pharmaceuticals and cosmeticsb) any of various mixtures of similar hydrocarbons including mixtures that are semisolid or oily2) ALKANEpar·af·fin·ic .par-ə-'fin-ik adj
* * *n.one of a series of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. Paraffin wax (hard paraffin), a whitish mixture of solid hydrocarbons melting at 45-60°C, is used in medicine mainly as a base for ointments; it is also used for embedding specimens for microscopical study. Liquid paraffin is a mineral oil, which has been used as a laxative.
* * *par·af·fin (parґə-fin) [L. parum little + affinis akin] [NF] 1. a purified mixture of solid hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum, occurring as an odorless, tasteless, colorless or white, more or less translucent mass; used for embedding histological specimens and as a stiffening agent in pharmaceutical preparations. See also paraffin bath, under bath. 2. alkane.
Medical dictionary. 2011.