1. any of various volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures; used chiefly as solvents;
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Naphtha \Naph"tha\ (n[a^]f"th[.a] or n[a^]p"th[.a]), n. [L.
naphtha, Gr. na`fqa, fr.Ar. nafth, nifth.]
1. (Chem.) The complex mixture of volatile, liquid,
inflammable hydrocarbons, occurring naturally, and usually
called crude petroleum, mineral oil, or rock oil.
Specifically: That portion of the distillate obtained in
the refinement of petroleum which is intermediate between
the lighter gasoline and the heavier benzine, and has a
specific gravity of about 0.7, -- used as a solvent for
varnishes, as a carburetant, illuminant, etc.
2. (Chem.) One of several volatile inflammable liquids
obtained by the distillation of certain carbonaceous
materials and resembling the naphtha from petroleum; as,
Boghead naphtha, from Boghead coal (obtained at Boghead,
Scotland); crude naphtha, or light oil, from coal tar;
wood naphtha, from wood, etc.
Note: This term was applied by the earlier chemical writers
to a number of volatile, strong smelling, inflammable
liquids, chiefly belonging to the ethers, as the
sulphate, nitrate, or acetate of ethyl. --Watts.
Naphtha vitrioli [NL., naphtha of vitriol] (Old Chem.),
common ethyl ether; -- formerly called sulphuric ether.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: any of various volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon
mixtures; used chiefly as solvents