Kerosene, also known as paraffinlamp oil, and coal oil (an obsolete term), is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is derived from petroleum, widely used as a fuel in industry as well as households. Its name derives from Greek: κηρός (keros) meaning wax, and was registered as a trademark by Canadian geologist and inventor Abraham Gesner in 1854 before evolving into a genericized trademark. It is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage.[1] The term kerosene is common in much of ArgentinaAustraliaCanadaIndiaNew Zealand, and the United States,[2][3] while the term paraffin (or a closely related variant) is used in Chile, eastern AfricaSouth Africa, and in the United Kingdom,[4] and (a variant of) the term petroleum in CroatianCzechDanishDutchEstonianFinnishGermanHungarianLatvianSerbianSlovak and Slovenian. In some of these languages the term kerosine refers instead to jet fuel. The term lamp oil, or the equivalent in the local languages, is common in majority of AsiaLiquid paraffin (called mineral oil in the US) is a more viscous and highly refined product which is used as a laxative. Paraffin wax is a waxy solid extracted from petroleum.

Kerosene is widely used to power jet engines of aircraft (jet fuel) and some rocket engines and is also commonly used as a cooking and lighting fuel and for fire toys such as poi. In parts of Asia, kerosene is sometimes used as fuel for small outboard motors or even motorcycles.[5] World total kerosene consumption for all purposes is equivalent to about 1.2 million barrels per day.[6]

To prevent confusion between kerosene and the much more flammable and volatile gasoline, some jurisdictions regulate markings or colorings for containers used to store or dispense kerosene. For example, in the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that portable containers used at retail service stations be colored blue, as opposed to red (for gasoline) or yellow (for diesel fuel).[7]