lu·​bri·​cate | \ ˈlü-brə-ˌkāt How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \
lubricated; lubricating

Definition of lubricate

transitive verb

1 : to make smooth or slippery
2 : to apply a lubricant to

intransitive verb

: to act as a lubricant

Other Words from lubricate

lubrication \ ˌlü-​brə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \ noun
lubricative \ ˈlü-​brə-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \ adjective
lubricator \ ˈlü-​brə-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for lubricate


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Examples of lubricate in a Sentence

it's not a good idea to use olive oil to lubricate the gears in an appliance
Recent Examples on the Web The thumb is a transit system, helping to lubricate scales, arpeggios, passages of all kinds. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 6 Apr. 2022 It’s produced by skin glands located on the outer half of your ear canals to lubricate your ears and prevent dust and other particles from entering your eardrum, according to the Mayo Clinic. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 30 Mar. 2022 The serendipitous office interactions that helped lubricate cooperation between teams have evaporated, decreasing trust and making cross-silo cooperation more difficult. David Meyer, Fortune, 14 Mar. 2022 Relationships lubricate the execution of routine tasks, operational activities and major projects. Mark Settle, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 The grease was used to lubricate wheels and axles to keep the rickety vehicles running smoothly. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 25 Jan. 2022 Because the body produces oil to lubricate the skin, , soaking in water washes away those oils. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 Good-quality hand pruners can usually be disassembled for easier maintenance, and lightly wiping with oil afterwards helps lubricate the metal and resist rust. Miri Talabac,, 15 Dec. 2021 Plastics are used in wind towers and solar panels, and oil is necessary to lubricate wind turbines. Daniel Yergin, The Atlantic, 27 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of lubricate

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for lubricate

borrowed from Latin lūbricātus, past participle of lūbricāre "to make slippery," derivative of lūbricus "slippery, hard to hold, liable to lead to false steps, hazardous" — more at sleeve

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Time Traveler for lubricate

Time Traveler

The first known use of lubricate was circa 1623

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Dictionary Entries Near lubricate



lubricating oil

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Statistics for lubricate

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lubricate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lubricate


lu·​bri·​cate | \ ˈlü-brə-ˌkāt How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \
lubricated; lubricating

Kids Definition of lubricate

: to apply oil or grease to in order to make smooth or slippery Mechanics lubricated the gears.


transitive verb
lu·​bri·​cate | \ ˈlü-bri-ˌkāt How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \
lubricated; lubricating

Medical Definition of lubricate

: to make smooth, slippery, or oily in motion, action, or appearance lubricate the eye lubricate the skin

Other Words from lubricate

lubrication \ ˌlü-​brə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce lubricate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lubricate

Nglish: Translation of lubricate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lubricate for Arabic Speakers


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