Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine

PETROLEUM

Rock oil, mineral oil, or natural oil, a dark brown or greenish inflammable liquid, which, at determined points, exists in the upper strata of the land, from whence it is pumped, or forced by pressure of the gas attending it. It consists of a composite mixture of different hydrocarbons, largely of the methane series, but may vary many in appearance, composition, and properties. It is refined by distillation, and the commodity include kerosene, petrol, gasoline, paraffin, etc. Petroleum spirit, a volatile liquid obtained in the distillation of crude petroleum at a temperature of 170 deg Fahr, or adown. The term is rather loosely applied to a considerable range of commodity, including petrol and ligroin. The terms petroleum ether, and naphtha, are sometimes applied to the still more volatile commodity, including rhigolene, gasoline, cymogene, etc. Origin: NL, fr. L. Petra a rock + oleum oil: cf. F. Petrole. Cf. Petrify, and Oil. Source: Websters Vocabulary
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