essential oil


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

Examples of essential oil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Like many Indonesian healers, Lagita relied on massage and compresses made with essential oils such as sandalwood. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "How To Spice Up Your Skincare Routine," 18 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, Henné’s swoon-worthy Rose Diamonds polish, containing organic crystals and essential oil of the storied bloom, is sure to leave you (and your special someone) nothing short of smitten. Mario Testino, Vogue, "Pucker Up! 10 Lip Scrubs for a Smooth Pout This Valentine’s Day," 14 Feb. 2019 Other buzzy topics: blue-blocking glasses, meditation and breath-monitoring gadgets, acupuncture, supplements, and essential oils. Maridel Reyes, Glamour, "'Biohacking' Your Anxiety Is a Buzzy Practice—but What Does It Actually Mean?," 16 Oct. 2018 Lavender essential oil is easy to find and is well known for its ability to calm and de-stress. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 Included are vendors with crystals, essential oils, bead work and other items, along with readings by regional mediums. Joan Rusek,, "Special needs students stage Annie at St. Joan of Arc: Valley Views," 9 Apr. 2018 As the company explains, their famous bath bombs were created in the '80s, and contain baking soda, vibrant colors and therapeutic essential oils. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Lush Created New Bath Bombs Featuring Fan-Favorite Scents," 26 Dec. 2018 Activities include 'gifts of the earth' teachings (flower essences, essential oils, healing stones), earth, fire and water ceremonies, yoga, crystal bowl chakra cleansings, group drum circles, and a journey to meet the spirit keepers of the land. Micaela English, Town & Country, "8 Wellness Retreats To Reset Your Body And Mind," 17 Dec. 2018 The candles are made with essential oils and soy wax, and contain no synthetic fragrance. Olivia Hall, The Seattle Times, "5 locally made home finds to spruce up your fall décor," 10 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'essential oil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of essential oil

1674, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about essential oil

Share essential oil

Statistics for essential oil

Last Updated

6 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for essential oil

The first known use of essential oil was in 1674

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for essential oil

essential oil


English Language Learners Definition of 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

essential oil


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

More from Merriam-Webster on essential oil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with essential oil Encyclopedia article about essential oil

Comments on essential oil

What made you want to look up essential oil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!