petroleum

noun
pe·​tro·​leum | \ pə-ˈtrō-lē-əm , -ˈtrōl-yəm\

Definition of petroleum

: an oily flammable bituminous liquid that may vary from almost colorless to black, occurs in many places in the upper strata of the earth, is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons with small amounts of other substances, and is prepared for use as gasoline, naphtha, or other products by various refining processes

Examples of petroleum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Saudis have been pumping 1 million barrels a day above their target after Mr. Trump pressured the country into ramping up oil production to record levels ahead of the sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "OPEC Open to Risking Trump’s Ire, Prompted by Budgets and Shale," 27 Nov. 2018 But Nuttall, who’d spent years bouncing around Canada working in the petroleum industry, and about two years sleeping on the streets, wasn’t buying it. Vernal Coleman, The Seattle Times, "Vancouver, B.C., bet on modular housing to ease homelessness. Could it work in Seattle?," 1 Oct. 2018 There’s a sizable oil industry because of the Eagle Ford shale, a nearby geologic formation rich in petroleum. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "San Antonio, the nation’s fastest-growing city, sees downtown rebound," 23 Oct. 2018 Since then, she's found different ways to travel responsibly—like her time as a crewmember on Earthrace, a state-of-the-art ship run on biodiesel (rather than petroleum diesel) that circumnavigates the globe to promote renewable fuels. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 Now, there is drilling and tapping of subterranean petroleum lakes in ways they never could have dreamed before. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What happened to coal," 21 Aug. 2018 Companies in the wealthy city state in Southeast Asia, where North Korea has an embassy, have been previously implicated in its efforts to circumvent sanctions on banking, imports of oil and petroleum products and other business dealings. Matthew Pennington, The Seattle Times, "US sanctions Singapore companies over North Korea dealings," 25 Oct. 2018 Examples of occlusive ingredients that can cause acne are waxes, petroleum, and mineral oil. Ramona Emerson, Allure, "How to Remove Your Halloween Makeup and Face Paint Without Wrecking Your Skin," 15 Oct. 2018 Another is that with the U.S. just a few years away from self-sufficiency in petroleum, more U.S. gasoline would have to find buyers abroad. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Ethanol’s Field of Dreams Gets More Real," 9 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for petroleum

Middle English, from Medieval Latin, from Latin petr- + oleum oil — more at oil

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Statistics for petroleum

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for petroleum

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

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More Definitions for petroleum

petroleum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of petroleum

: a kind of oil that comes from below the ground and that is the source of gasoline and other products

petroleum

noun
pe·​tro·​leum | \ pə-ˈtrō-lē-əm , -ˈtrōl-yəm\

Kids Definition of petroleum

: a raw oil that is obtained from wells drilled in the ground and that is the source of gasoline, kerosene, and other oils used for fuel

petroleum

noun
pe·​tro·​leum | \ pə-ˈtrō-lē-əm, -ˈtrōl-yəm \

Medical Definition of petroleum

: an oily flammable bituminous liquid that may vary from almost colorless to black, occurs in many places in the upper strata of the earth, is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons with small amounts of other substances, and is prepared for use as gasoline, naphtha, or other products by various refining processes

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More from Merriam-Webster on petroleum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with petroleum

Spanish Central: Translation of petroleum

Nglish: Translation of petroleum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petroleum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about petroleum

Comments on petroleum

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