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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Kerosene \Ker"o*sene`\, n. [Gr. ? wax.] An oil used for illuminating purposes, formerly obtained from the distillation of mineral wax, bituminous shale, etc., and hence called also coal oil. It is now produced in immense quantities, chiefly by the distillation and purification of petroleum. It consists chiefly of several hydrocarbons of the methane series, having from 10 to 16 carbon atoms in each molecule, and having a higher boiling point (175 - 325[deg] C) than gasoline or the petroleum ethers, and a lower boling point than the oils. [1913 Webster +PJC] Kers