Náphtha. n.s. [naphtha, Latin.]
Naphtha is a very pure, clear, and thin mineral fluid, of a very pale yellow, with a cast of brown in it. It is soft and oily to the touch, of a sharp and unpleasing taste, and of a brisk and penetrating smell; of the bituminous kind. It is extremely ready to take fire, and in places where it is frequent, it exhales a vapour that takes fire at the approach of any flame, and burns to a great distance, sometimes spreading in an instant over half a mile or more of ground, and continuing alight a great while. It is found floating on the waters of springs. It is principally used externally in paralytick cases, and in pains of the limbs. Hill's Mat. Med.
Strabo represents it as a liquation of bitumen. It swims on the top of the water of wells and springs. That found about Babylon is in some springs whitish, tho' it be generally black, and differs little from Petroleum. Woodward.