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

That includes Young Living, one of our go-to essential oil brands. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "These Essential Oils Will Make Your Entire Home Smell Like Christmas," 14 Oct. 2018 This includes aromatherapy and essential oils, self-care books, stationary, coffee and tea, crystals, bath and body products, vitamins, supplements, and more online and in cute little sections in the brick and mortar stores. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Help, I'm Obsessed with Anthropologie's New Wellness Shop," 20 July 2018 And then some like woo woo sh*t, like essential oils and incense. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lola Kirke Challenges the Meaning of Desire in Her New Music Video," 18 July 2018 This set comes with a detoxifying bath soak made with pink Himalayan and dead sea salts, rose petals, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils, plus an herbal black tea, an all-natural soy candle and a lavender body and room spray. NBC News, "10 last-minute Mother's Day gift ideas," 8 May 2018 Body: Brown Sugar & Coconut Body Scrub Ingredients: 2 cups of golden brown sugar; 6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil; 20-25 drops of vanilla essential oilUses: Exfoliate and moisturize your body with this delicious scrub. Staff, Woman's Day, "WD on TV: Make Your Own Beauty Products," 20 Jan. 2011 The increase, Li’s study found, was due to the exposure of essential oils emitted from trees. Mira Otto, Detroit Free Press, "5 ways forest bathing can improve your health," 18 June 2018 Most are a blend of essential oils that keep hair looking lively. Adam Hurly, GQ, "The Best Hair Products for Men 2018," 14 June 2018 However, many are unaware that essential oils can also have toxic effects., "Essential oils: Why 'natural' doesn't always mean safe," 22 May 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

13 Nov 2018

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

See 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).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!