wax


wax
wax1
waxable, adj.waxlike, adj.
/waks/, n.
1. Also called beeswax. a solid, yellowish, nonglycerine substance allied to fats and oils, secreted by bees, plastic when warm and melting at about 145°F, variously employed in making candles, models, casts, ointments, etc., and used by bees in constructing their honeycomb.
2. any of various similar substances, as spermaceti or the secretions of certain insects and plants. Cf. vegetable wax, wax insect.
3. any of a group of substances composed of hydrocarbons, alcohols, fatty acids, and esters that are solid at ordinary temperatures.
4. cerumen; earwax.
5. a resinous substance used by shoemakers for rubbing thread.
6. See sealing wax.
7. a person or object suggesting wax, as in manageability or malleability: I am helpless wax in your hands.
8. whole ball of wax, Slang.
a. the entire or overall plan, concept, action, result, or the like: The first ten minutes of the meeting will determine the whole ball of wax.
b. everything of a similar or related nature: They sold us skis, boots, bindings, poles - the whole ball of wax.
v.t.
9. to rub, smear, stiffen, polish, etc., with wax: to wax the floor.
10. to fill the crevices of (ornamental marble) with colored material.
11. Informal. to make a phonograph recording of.
12. Slang. to defeat decisively; drub: We waxed the competition.
adj.
13. pertaining to, made of, or resembling wax: a wax candle; a wax doll.
[bef. 900; (n.) ME wex, waxe, OE weax; c. D was, G Wachs, ON vax; (v.) ME wexen, deriv. of the n.]
wax2
/waks/, v.i., waxed; waxed or (Literary) waxen; waxing.
1. to increase in extent, quantity, intensity, power, etc.: Discord waxed at an alarming rate.
2. (of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon. Cf. wane (def. 4).
3. to grow or become: He waxed angry at the insinuation.
[bef. 900; ME waxen, OE weaxan; c. G wachsen; akin to WAIST]
Syn. 1. extend, grow, lengthen, enlarge, dilate.
wax3
/waks/, n. Chiefly Brit.
a fit of anger; rage.
[1850-55; perh. special use of WAX2]

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I
Any of a class of pliable substances, organic compounds of animal, plant, mineral, or synthetic origin, less greasy, harder, and more brittle than fats.

Waxes contain mostly compounds of high molecular weight (fatty acids, alcohols, and saturated hydrocarbons). Many melt at moderate temperatures and form hard films that can take a high polish. Animal and plant waxes are esters of fatty acids and either a sterol (see steroid) or a straight-chain higher alcohol (e.g., cetyl alcohol). Animal waxes include beeswax; wool wax (lanolin), used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; and sperm oil and spermaceti (from sperm whales), used as lubricants. Plant waxes include carnauba wax, candelilla wax, and sugarcane wax, used in polishes. About 90% of the waxes in commerce are recovered by dewaxing petroleum. There are three main types: paraffin (used in candles, crayons, paper coating, and industrial polishes and as a protective sealant, lubricant, insulating agent, and antifrothing agent), microcrystalline wax (used in paper coating), and petrolatum (used in ointments and cosmetics). Synthetic waxes (carbowaxes), derived from ethylene glycol, are commonly blended with petroleum waxes.
II
(as used in expressions)
lost wax casting

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      any of a class of pliable substances of animal, plant, mineral, or synthetic origin that differ from fats in being less greasy, harder, and more brittle and in containing principally compounds of high molecular weight (e.g., fatty acids, alcohols, and saturated hydrocarbons). Waxes share certain characteristic physical properties. Many of them melt at moderate temperatures (i.e., between about 35° and 100° C, or 95° and 212° F) and form hard films that can be polished to a high gloss, making them ideal for use in a wide array of polishes. They do share some of the same properties as fats. Waxes and fats, for example, are soluble in the same solvents and both leave grease spots on paper.

      Notwithstanding such physical similarities, animal and plant waxes differ chemically from petroleum, or hydrocarbon, waxes and synthetic waxes. They are esters that result from a reaction between fatty acids and certain alcohols (alcohol) other than glycerol, either of a group called sterols (e.g., cholesterol) or an alcohol containing 12 or a larger even number of carbon atoms in a straight chain (e.g., cetyl alcohol). The fatty acids found in animal and vegetable waxes are almost always saturated. They vary from lauric to octatriacontanoic acid (C37H75COOH). Saturated alcohols from C12 to C36 have been identified in various waxes. Several dihydric (two hydroxyl groups) alcohols have been separated, but they do not form a large proportion of any wax. Also, several unidentified branched-chain fatty acids and alcohols have been found in minor quantities. Several cyclic sterols (e.g., cholesterol and analogues) make up major portions of wool wax.

      Only a few vegetable waxes are produced in commercial quantities. carnauba wax, which is very hard and is used in some high-gloss polishes, is probably the most important of these. It is obtained from the surface of the fronds of a species of palm tree native to Brazil. A similar wax, candelilla wax, is obtained commercially from the surface of the candelilla plant, which grows wild in Texas and Mexico. sugarcane wax, which occurs on the surface of sugarcane leaves and stalks, is obtainable from the sludges of cane-juice processing. Its properties and uses are similar to those of carnauba wax, but it is normally dark in colour and contains more impurities. Other cuticle waxes occur in trace quantities in such vegetable oils as linseed, soybean, corn (maize), and sesame. They are undesirable because they may precipitate when the oil stands at room temperature, but they can be removed by cooling and filtering. Cuticle wax accounts for the beautiful gloss of polished apples.

       beeswax, the most widely distributed and important animal wax, is softer than the waxes mentioned and finds little use in gloss polishes. It is used, however, for its gliding and lubricating properties as well as in waterproofing formulations. Wool wax, the main constituent of the fat that covers the wool of sheep, is obtained as a by-product in scouring raw wool. Its purified form, called lanolin, is used as a pharmaceutical or cosmetic base because it is easily assimilated by the human skin. Sperm oil and spermaceti, both obtained from sperm whales, are liquid at ordinary temperatures and are used mainly as lubricants.

      About 90 percent of the wax used for commercial purposes is recovered from petroleum by dewaxing lubricating-oil stocks. Petroleum wax is generally classified into three principal types: paraffin (see paraffin wax), microcrystalline, and petrolatum. Paraffin is widely used in candles, crayons, and industrial polishes. It is also employed for insulating components of electrical equipment and for waterproofing wood and certain other materials. Microcrystalline wax is used chiefly for coating paper for packaging, and petrolatum is employed in the manufacture of medicinal ointments and cosmetics. Synthetic wax is derived from ethylene glycol, an organic compound commercially produced from ethylene gas. It is commonly blended with petroleum waxes to manufacture a variety of products.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wax — Wax, n. [AS. weax; akin to OFries. wax, D. was, G. wachs, OHG. wahs, Icel. & Sw. vax, Dan. vox, Lith. vaszkas, Russ. vosk .] [1913 Webster] 1. A fatty, solid substance, produced by bees, and employed by them in the construction of their comb;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wax — ● wax nom masculin (anglais wax, cire) En Afrique noire, tissu de coton imprimé de qualité supérieure. wax n. m. Tissu de coton imprimé d un dessin évoquant des craquelures, obtenu par un procédé à la cire. (En appos.) Un tissu wax. Un pagne wax …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Wax — Wax, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Waxed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Waxing}.] To smear or rub with wax; to treat with wax; as, to wax a thread or a table. [1913 Webster] {Waxed cloth}, cloth covered with a coating of wax, used as a cover, of tables and for other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wax — (w[a^]ks), v. i. [imp. {Waxed}; p. p. {Waxed}, and Obs. or Poetic {Waxen}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Waxing}.] [AS. weaxan; akin to OFries. waxa, D. wassen, OS. & OHG. wahsan, G. wachsen, Icel. vaxa, Sw. v[ a]xa, Dan. voxe, Goth. wahsjan, Gr. ? to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wax — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. {{{image}}}   Sigles d une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres > Sigles de trois lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • wax — wax1 [waks] n. [ME < OE weax, akin to Ger wachs < IE * wokso < * weg , to weave, prob. < base * (a)we , to WEAVE] 1. a plastic, dull yellow substance secreted by bees for building cells; beeswax: it is hard when cold and easily molded …   English World dictionary

  • wax|y — «WAK see», adjective, wax|i|er, wax|i|est. 1. like wax. 2. made of wax; containing wax; waxen. 3. abounding in or covered w …   Useful english dictionary

  • wax — ‘soft oily substance’ [OE] and the now archaic wax ‘grow, become’ [OE] are distinct words. The former comes (together with German wachs, Dutch was, Swedish vax, and Danish vox) from a prehistoric Germanic *wakhsam. This in turn was descended from …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • wax — ‘soft oily substance’ [OE] and the now archaic wax ‘grow, become’ [OE] are distinct words. The former comes (together with German wachs, Dutch was, Swedish vax, and Danish vox) from a prehistoric Germanic *wakhsam. This in turn was descended from …   Word origins

  • wax|en — «WAK suhn», adjective. 1. of wax; made of wax: »For now my love is thaw d; Which, like a waxen image gainst a fire Bears no impression of the thing it was (Shakespeare). 2. Figurative. like wax; smooth, soft, and pale: »Her skin is waxen. 3.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • wax — verb. In the meaning ‘to assume a specified tone or state’, wax is followed by an adjective, not an adverb: to wax lyrical, to wax enthusiastic, etc.: • When the Roman soldiers were asked to take part in the Claudian invasion of 43, they waxed… …   Modern English usage


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