wax

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wax,

substance secreted by glands on the abdomen of the bee and known commonly as beeswax; also various substances resembling beeswax. Waxes are mixtures comprising chiefly esters of monohydroxy alcohols, besides other esters and free fatty acids, free alcohols, and higher hydrocarbons. They differ from fats in that fats contain chiefly esters of glycerol. Waxes are generally harder and less greasy than fats, but like fats they are less dense than water and are soluble in alcohol and ether but not in water. Among the waxes derived from plants are carnauba wax, obtained from the leaves of a palmpalm,
common name for members of the Palmae, a large family of chiefly tropical trees, shrubs, and vines. Most species are treelike, characterized by a crown of compound leaves, called fronds, terminating a tall, woody, unbranched stem.
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 grown in Brazil, and candelilla wax, produced by a Mexican plant (Euphorbia antisyphilitica). Those of animal origin include wool wax, or lanolin, obtained from the surface of wool fibers and used in making certain creams, ointments, and soaps, in the processes of finishing and softening leather, and as an ingredient of some paints and varnishes; spermacetispermaceti
, solid waxy substance, white, odorless, and tasteless, separated from the oils obtained from the sperm whale (see sperm oil) and other marine mammals. A mixture of esters of fatty acids, it is composed chiefly of cetyl palmitate.
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, obtained from the sperm whale, and Chinese wax, which is deposited on certain trees in parts of Asia (especially China and India) by a species of scale insect. Mineral waxes include ozocerite and paraffinparaffin,
white, more-or-less translucent, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid. It melts between 47°C; and 65°C; and is insoluble in water but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but burns readily in air.
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, both composed of hydrocarbons. Japan wax and bayberry (or myrtle) wax are composed chiefly of fats.

Bibliography

See L. Roth and J. Weiner, Waxes, Waxing and Wax Modifiers (1961); H. Bennett, Industrial Waxes (2 vol., 1963); P. E. Kolattukudy, ed., Chemistry and Biochemistry of Natural Waxes (1976).

wax

[waks]
(materials)
Any of a group of substances resembling beeswax in appearance and character, and in general distinguished by their composition of esters and higher alcohols, and by their freedom from fatty acids.

wax

A thermoplastic solid material obtained from vegetable, mineral, and animal matter; soluble in organic solvents; used in paste or liquid form as a protective coating or polish on wood and metal surfaces and as an additive in paints.

wax

1. any of various viscous or solid materials of natural origin: characteristically lustrous, insoluble in water, and having a low softening temperature, they consist largely of esters of fatty acids
2. any of various similar substances, such as paraffin wax or ozocerite, that have a mineral origin and consist largely of hydrocarbons
3. short for beeswax, sealing wax
4. Physiol another name for cerumen
5. a resinous preparation used by shoemakers to rub on thread
6. bone wax a mixture of wax, oil, and carbolic acid applied to the cut surface of a bone to prevent bleeding
References in periodicals archive ?
46) In 1325, in the midst of baronial revolt against King Edward II and his favourite, a group of Coventry worthies reportedly hired a local necromancer to kill the king with the use of sympathetic magic by sticking pins into waxen figures.
in the delicate imaginative beauty of the first, the waxen chiaroscuro of the second, we cannot help feeling how far Leonardo's theories on painting led him away from our affections'.
Any hair, whether short and prickly or long and waxen, smelled about the same.
Page: Nan Page (my daughter) and my little sonne, And three or foure more of their growth, wee'l dresse Like Urchins, Ouphes, and Fairies, greene and white, With rounds of waxen Tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands; upon a sodaine, As Falstaffe, she, and I, are newly met, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once With some diffused song: Upon their sight We two, in great amazednesse will flye: Then let them all encircle him about, And Fairy-like to pinch the uncleane Knight; And aske him why that houre of Fairy Revell, In their so sacred pathes, he dares to tread In shape prophane.
Waxen plums I will add--this fruit, too, shall have its honour.
When he tried to read a line of single N10 letters in 'Times' font his whole body trembled, his face was waxen and he gave up after only four letters.
On the bench rest five dark brown beeswax bowls, each cradling a waxen ram's head immersed in white sheep's milk.
Not surprising among them, given its waxen skin, are "ghost plant" and "corpse plant.
Invoking the downward-spiraling Essex (whom Francis Bacon would famously malign in 1600, "I was ever sorry your Lordship should fly with waxen wings, doubting Icarus' fortune"), Dekker reflects upon the once-favored courtier's social and geographical exile.