lubricate

verb
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

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Other Words from lubricate

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

Synonyms for lubricate

Synonyms

grease, oil, slick, wax

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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

After a few hours of sitting, motor oil, which lubricates the parts in your engine, cools and sinks to the bottom. Alex Leanse, Popular Mechanics, "4 Unusual Ways to Make Your Car Last Longer," 20 Feb. 2017 Now, lubricate the cutting wheel on the glass cutter with a drop of lightweight cutting oil or machine oil. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cut Glass," 11 Feb. 2019 This is a condition that happens when your eyes can’t lubricate themselves adequately, according to the National Eye Institute. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Bad Is It to Lick Your Contact, Then Put It Back In?," 19 July 2018 The water lubricates the stone or sand particles in the bedding and allows a firmer pack. Peter Martin, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build a Beautiful Bluestone Patio in One Afternoon," 23 Sep. 2016 Your eyelids help keep your eyes lubricated in a few important ways. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Are Eyelid Issues Causing Your Dry Eyes? Here's How to Tell," 14 Dec. 2018 Or the melting lubricates more melting, and so forth. David Roberts, Vox, "Climate change policy can be overwhelming. Here’s a guide to the policies that work.," 30 Nov. 2018 Oktoberfest, the second-most-important tourist magnet for the Bavarian-themed mountain town of Leavenworth, this year drew less of the loud, lager-lubricated partying for which it was once known. Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times, "Peak Oktober: Has Leavenworth’s famously beery festival reached its limit?," 26 Oct. 2018 Dry eye happens when your eyes can’t adequately lubricate themselves because the amount or quality of your tears isn’t up to par, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). Korin Miller, SELF, "8 Possible Reasons Your Contacts Feel So Scratchy," 8 Aug. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of lubricate

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for lubricate

Latin lubricatus, past participle of lubricare, from lubricus slippery — more at sleeve

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Statistics for lubricate

Last Updated

29 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lubricate

The first known use of lubricate was circa 1623

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More Definitions for lubricate

lubricate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lubricate

: to make (something) smooth or slippery : to apply a lubricant to (something, such as a machine or a part of a machine)

lubricate

verb
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.

lubricate

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 lubrication (audio) \ noun

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Comments on lubricate

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