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Kerosene or paraffin is a colourless, thin, flammable liquid. A hydrocarbon mix, it is obtained from the fractional distillation of oil at 150C and 275C (the C12 to C15 range). At one time it was widely used in lamps but is now mainly used as a fuel in jet engines. Its use a cooking fuel is mostly restricted to less developed countries, where it is usually less refined and contains impurities and even debris. Jet engine fuel, also called avtur, is supposed to be high-grade kerosene that produces less smoke.

Kerosene is also used in various types of lamp: see kerosene lamp.

Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797-1864) named it in 1854 from the Greek word keros (wax).

It is called kerosene in the United States and Australia, and paraffin in the United Kingdom. It is also sometimes called kerosine or coal oil.