Kerosene is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid widely used as a fuel in industry and households. Its name is derived from Greek: κηρός (keros) meaning wax, and was registered as a trademark by Abraham Gesner in 1854 before evolving into a genericized trademark. It is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage. The term "kerosene" is common in much of India, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Kerosene is usually called paraffin in the UK, Southeast Asia and South Africa. A more viscous paraffin oil is used as a laxative. A waxy solid extracted from petroleum is called paraffin wax.
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, where the price of kerosene is subsidized, it fuels outboard motors on small fishing boats. Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting in rural areas of Asia and Africa where electrical distribution is not available or too costly for widespread use. World total kerosene consumption for all purposes is equivalent to about 1.2 million barrels per day.
To prevent confusion between kerosene and the much more flammable gasoline, some jurisdictions regulate markings or colorings for containers in which kerosene is stored or dispensed. 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).