Kerosene is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. the name is derived from greek: κηρός (keros) meaning wax. the word "kerosene" was registered as a trademark by abraham gesner in 1854, and for several years, only the north american gas light company and the downer company (to which gesner had granted the right) were allowed to call their lamp oil "kerosene" in the united states. it eventually became a genericized trademark. it is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage.