oil

noun, often attributive
\ ˈȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce oil (audio) \

Definition of oil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : any of numerous unctuous combustible substances that are liquid or can be liquefied easily on warming, are soluble in ether but not in water, and leave a greasy stain on paper or cloth
b(1) : petroleum
(2) : the petroleum industry
2 : a substance (such as a cosmetic preparation) of oily consistency bath oil
3a : an oil color used by an artist
b : a painting done in oil colors
4 : unctuous or flattering speech

oil

verb

Definition of oil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to smear, rub over, furnish, or lubricate with oil

intransitive verb

: to take on fuel oil
oil the hand or oil the palm
: bribe, tip

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Synonyms for oil

Synonyms: Noun

canvas (also canvass), oil painting, painting

Synonyms: Verb

grease, lubricate, slick, wax

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Examples of oil in a Sentence

Noun

The price of crude oil is expected to rise. We heat our house with oil. A little bit of oil will help lubricate the chain. Add a little oil to the pan and stir-fry the onions. The dressing is made with oil, vinegar, and a pinch of herbs.

Verb

He oiled the bearings of the machine. if you oil the machinery on a regular basis, it will operate more efficiently
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But his vivid portrait of Molly Finch is comparable to the oils he was commissioned to do. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "After More Than Eight Decades, These Exquisite Whistler Watercolors Make Their Public Debut," 18 June 2019 The Houthis also carried out a drone strike last month on a key Saudi oil pipeline. NBC News, "Saudi prince vows to confront threats after U.S. blames Iran for tanker attack," 16 June 2019 For her winning entry, an indie-folk style composition, Wynne accompanied herself on an oil-can guitar and a kickdrum. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al.com, "Songwriting contest announces winner of FAME Studios session, $10,000," 15 June 2019 Possibly not — the slowing global economy has weakened the demand for oil. New York Times, "The Week in Business: Oil Tankers Are Under Attack, and the Grocery-Delivery Battle Heats Up," 15 June 2019 The sloughing away of the seafloor could destabilize the dense web of oil pipelines off the coast, increasing pollution risks. Tristan Baurick, nola.com, "Dredging, dams and other river controls starve places downriver of much-needed sediment," 15 June 2019 In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. CBS News, "The Dish: Chef Priya Krishna reveals her signature recipes," 15 June 2019 Natural oil on your skin will transfer to the bulb, causing the bulb to warm too quickly and possibly shatter. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Let There Be Light: A Smart Buyer’s Guide to Light Bulbs," 14 June 2019 About 80 percent of Japan's oil imports come from the Middle East and pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Erin Cunnigham, Anchorage Daily News, "Iran calls claims it attacked oil tankers ‘economic terrorism’ by US," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Each hog gets an application of Martin’s spice blend, and their skins are salted and oiled. Eric Velasco, al.com, "Meet the crew who makes Birmingham’s barbecue," 3 June 2019 Lightly oil a large (10-by-15-inch) glass or metal baking dish. Arrange chicken, skin-side down, in dish. Adina Steiman, WSJ, "Eat Like a Model (And Still Be Satisfied)," 13 Sep. 2018 Dressed in a suit with pink tie, pocket handkerchief and sporting long hair, Gilfry seemed a kind of oily Elmer Gantry, further oiled by Aucoin's busily ingratiating chamber orchestra accompaniment. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Walt Whitman's operatic America in 'Crossing' gets its West Coast premiere," 27 May 2018 And just like the stock market has eventually stopped doing what the president wants, so will oil prices. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Now that the stock market is down, Trump wants to take credit for oil prices," 27 Nov. 2018 And Kelly didn't have the calmest reaction to seeing her husband all oiled up — for everyone else to see. Cierra Williams, Good Housekeeping, "Kelly Ripa Flips Over Mark Consuelos's Latest 'Riverdale' Photo," 16 Nov. 2018 Consider these 10 serums, moisturizers, and oils your crash course in all-things bakuchiol. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "10 Skin-Care Products With Bakuchiol, aka the New Plant-Based Retinol Alternative," 26 Oct. 2018 In the latest iteration, Grenzke says the design team found solutions to problems wearers might never have considered, from the way that oils from sunscreen, sweat, and hair products break down the jacket’s laminate to hem creep. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "How Arc'teryx Builds the World's Priciest Jackets," 25 Apr. 2018 Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless, oiled-up flag-bearing taekwondo competitor from Tonga who turned heads at the Summer Games in Rio two years ago is now trying his hand at being a cross-country skier. USA TODAY, "Bjoergen looks to extend dominance in cross country skiing," 11 Jan. 2018

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for oil

Noun

Middle English oile, from Anglo-French, from Latin oleum olive oil, from Greek elaion, from elaia olive

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Statistics for oil

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oil

The first known use of oil was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for oil

oil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of oil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a thick, black liquid that comes from the ground and that is used in making various products (such as gasoline)
: a type of oil that is used as a fuel to produce heat or light
: a type of oil that makes the different parts in an engine, machine, etc., run smoothly

oil

verb

English Language Learners Definition of oil (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put oil in or on (something)

oil

noun
\ ˈȯil How to pronounce oil (audio) \

Kids Definition of oil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of numerous greasy usually liquid substances from plant, animal, or mineral sources that do not dissolve in water and are used especially as lubricants, fuels, and food
2 : petroleum
3 : paint made of pigments and oil
4 : a painting done in oils

oil

verb
oiled; oiling

Kids Definition of oil (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rub on or lubricate with a greasy substance

oil

noun
\ ˈȯi(ə)l How to pronounce oil (audio) \

Medical Definition of oil

1 : any of numerous unctuous combustible substances that are liquid or can be liquefied easily on warming, are soluble in ether but not in water, and leave a greasy stain on paper or cloth — see essential oil, fatty oil, volatile oil
2 : a substance (as a cosmetic preparation) of oily consistency bath oil

Other Words from oil

oil adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on oil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oil

Spanish Central: Translation of oil

Nglish: Translation of oil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oil

Comments on oil

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