lu·​bri·​cant | \ ˈlü-bri-kənt How to pronounce lubricant (audio) \

Definition of lubricant

1 : a substance (such as grease) capable of reducing friction, heat, and wear when introduced as a film between solid surfaces
2 : something that lessens or prevents friction or difficulty a social lubricant

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lubricant

lubricant adjective

Examples of lubricant in a Sentence

The car's axles need more lubricant. using humor as a social lubricant
Recent Examples on the Web But alcohol only works as a disinhibitory lubricant if all parties are drinking. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 One was thrown a birthday party, where it was given, among other gifts, a can of WD-40 lubricant. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, 24 Aug. 2021 The fridge’s mechanical parts replenish their lubricant by recycling the oil that has pooled in the catchment area. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2021 Laughter also acts as a social lubricant, making interactions easier even when there is no humor involved. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2021 But not this fridge, thanks to the lack of the lubricant. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2021 Even casually substituting a zinc- or cad-plated bolt or washer for an unplated one calls for, respectively, a 15 or 25 percent reduction in applied torque, because the plating acts as a lubricant. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 21 May 2021 So long as perceptions create reality, and politics trump talent, employees will continue to worry about seeming busy and pretending to work will be as important a career lubricant as work itself. Tomas Chamorro-premuzic, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 If the dipstick calls for additional oil, add a bit, maybe a tablespoon or two of fresh lubricant. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 10 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lubricant.' 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 lubricant

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lubricant

lubric(ate) + -ant entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About lubricant

Time Traveler for lubricant

Time Traveler

The first known use of lubricant was circa 1828

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near lubricant




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lubricant

Last Updated

3 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lubricant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lubricant



English Language Learners Definition of lubricant

: a substance (such as grease or oil) that causes something (such as a machine part) to be slippery and to move more smoothly
: something that makes it easier for people to work or talk with each other


lu·​bri·​cant | \ ˈlü-bri-kənt How to pronounce lubricant (audio) \

Kids Definition of lubricant

: something (as oil or grease) that makes a surface smooth or slippery


lu·​bri·​cant | \ ˈlü-bri-kənt How to pronounce lubricant (audio) \

Medical Definition of lubricant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving to lubricate a surface or part



Medical Definition of lubricant (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance that serves to lubricate a surface or part normally, the intestinal passage requires no artificial lubricant— E. B. Steen & Ashley Montagu

More from Merriam-Webster on lubricant

Nglish: Translation of lubricant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lubricant for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lubricant


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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