essential oil

essential oil


: an oil that comes from a plant, that smells like the plant it comes from, and that is used in perfumes and flavorings

Full Definition of ESSENTIAL OIL

:  any of a class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odors and are used especially in perfumes and flavorings, and for aromatherapy — compare fixed oil

First Known Use of ESSENTIAL OIL


essential oil

noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of ESSENTIAL OIL

: any of a large class of volatile odoriferous oils of vegetable origin that give plants their characteristic odors and often other properties, that are obtained from various parts of the plants (as flowers, leaves, or bark) by steam distillation, expression, or extraction, that are usually mixtures of compounds (as aldehydes or esters), and that are used often in the form of essences in perfumes, flavorings, and pharmaceutical preparations—called also ethereal oil, volatile oil; compare fatty oil, fixed oil

essential oil

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a class of highly volatile (readily evaporating) organic compounds found in plants and usually named for them (e.g., rose oil, peppermint oil). They have been known and traded since ancient times. Many essential oils contain isoprenoids. Some, such as oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) and orange oil (d-limonene), have one predominant component, but most have dozens or hundreds. Trace components impart an oil's characteristic odour, which synthetic or blended oils can rarely duplicate. Essential oils have three primary commercial uses: as odorants in perfumes, soaps, detergents, and other products; as flavours in baked goods, candies, soft drinks, and many other foods; and as pharmaceuticals, in dental products and many medicines (see aromatherapy).


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