ole·​ag·​i·​nous | \ ˌō-lē-ˈa-jə-nəs How to pronounce oleaginous (audio) \

Definition of oleaginous

1 : resembling or having the properties of oil : oily also : containing or producing oil
2 : marked by an offensively ingratiating manner or quality

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Other Words from oleaginous

oleaginously adverb
oleaginousness noun

Did You Know?

The oily oleaginous slipped into English through Middle French, coming from the Latin oleagineus, meaning "of an olive tree." Oleagineus itself is from the Latin olea, meaning "olive tree," and ultimately from the Greek elaia, meaning "olive." Oleaginous was at first used in a literal sense, as it still can be. An oleaginous substance is simply oily, and an oleaginous plant produces oil. The word took on its extended "ingratiating" sense in the 19th century.

Examples of oleaginous in a Sentence

the office manager greeted the corporate bigwigs with an oleaginous welcome that should have embarrassed him
Recent Examples on the Web The same goes for the oleaginous Uriah Heep (Ben Whishaw), the legal clerk who can worm into people’s brains, as if into their guts, with his show of humility. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Charles Dickens at the Movies," 28 Aug. 2020 And there is the womanizing Mr. Mantalini, whose gift for oleaginous flattery always persuades his long-suffering wife to take him back. Washington Post, "Here are some of my favorite escapist novels. You may have other ideas. Share them with us.," 30 Apr. 2020 The administration’s effort to promote Saudi Arabia as a regional proxy, to help effect its withdrawal, is also somehow oleaginous. The Economist, "Lexington The limits of energy independence," 23 Apr. 2020 Critics described him variously as pompous, sycophantic, unctuous, oleaginous and obsequious. Jo Craven Mcginty, New York Times, "James Lipton, ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ Host, Dies at 93," 2 Mar. 2020 Eggplant sponges up so much olive oil in the traditional caponata recipe that the end result often is a caponata that is cloyingly oleaginous. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Caponata, a mosaic of foods from Sicily," 26 June 2019 Trump and Vice President Pence responded with lies (blaming the Obama administration), deflection (blaming Democrats in Congress) and lots of oleaginous faux concern. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: Humanitarian crisis at the border is of Trump’s making," 25 June 2019 The growing clamor for greasy bacon, sausages stuffed with supple lard, and pork chops oozing with deep, scrumptious, oleaginous flab is so strong, in fact, that a problem has developed. Julie Wernau, WSJ, "America Has a Bacon Problem: Our Pigs Aren’t Fat Enough," 28 July 2017 Open vats bubbled with a dark oleaginous resin used to remove feathers. Yan Cong, Smithsonian, "Is China Ground Zero for a Future Pandemic?," 25 Oct. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oleaginous

Middle English, from Middle French oleagineux, from Latin oleagineus of an olive tree, from olea olive tree, from Greek elaia

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The first known use of oleaginous was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oleaginous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oleaginous. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for oleaginous


ole·​ag·​i·​nous | \ ˌō-lē-ˈaj-ə-nəs How to pronounce oleaginous (audio) \

Medical Definition of oleaginous

: resembling or having the properties of oil also : containing or producing oil

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oleaginous

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