lu·bri·cant | \ ˈlü-bri-kənt \

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

Many of our readers and locksmiths swear by Tri-Flow lubricant. Bob Weber,, "Stuck door lock? Use graphite lube, not WD-40," 3 Dec. 2017 Much of the painstaking work involves decontamination of sewers where the explosive contaminants were deposited, plus sewer and building foundation removal and dealing with lead, metals, oil, lubricants and other hazards in and around the sewers. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Next big development in JoCo? Officials say, speed up Sunflower ammo plant cleanup | The Kansas City Star," 15 May 2018 Hemp seeds are a nutritious source of protein for humans and livestock, while hemp oils and extracts are used in cosmetics, soaps, plastics and lubricants. William L. Spence, idahostatesman, "Congress has moved to OK this once-controversial crop, and Idaho could benefit bigtime," 4 July 2018 Dozens of guitars and hundreds of varieties of guitar strings – and even guitar string lubricant. Gavin Edwards, charlotteobserver, "Pianos, mules, guitar strings: A 106-year-old family business is bidding it all goodbye," 8 June 2018 Cherry, grape and strawberry scents were trademarked for lubricants used for land and water vehicles by Manhattan Oil. Rachel Siegel,, "Hasbro trademarks Play-Doh scent," 24 May 2018 Similarly, several decades later, the introduction of tetraethyl lead into gasoline raised environmental concerns, but was tolerated as a necessary lubricant for the adoption of the internal combustion engine. New York Times, "A History of the Energy We Have Consumed," 18 June 2018 The machine's joints produce friction that makes its movement somewhat stilted, so the researchers are looking at possible lubricants. Electrically stimulating the muscles also produces bubbles in the surrounding water, which degrade the tissue. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "New Hybrid Robot Uses Living Muscles to Move," 30 May 2018 Delays to the Galileo launch caused by the Challenger disaster in 1986 mean the spacecraft sat in storage for a few years, and the lubricant needed to efficiently deploy the antenna dissolved. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Spacecraft Likely Flew Though a Europa Water Plume in 1997," 14 May 2018

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lubricant

Dictionary Entries near lubricant

lube oil





lubricating oil


Statistics for lubricant

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lubricant

The first known use of lubricant was circa 1828

See more words from the same year

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 \

Kids Definition of lubricant

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


lu·bri·cant | \ ˈlü-bri-kənt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lubricant

Spanish Central: Translation of lubricant

Nglish: Translation of lubricant for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on lubricant

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

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


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!