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

Economies that have thrived off of the petroleum age won’t be thriving anymore. Michael Zelenko, The Verge, "The US is losing the high-stakes global battery war," 13 Aug. 2018 The other three quarters are cars and trucks using gasoline, factories using quadrillions of British thermal units to forge metals and refine petroleum, and buildings heated by gas or propane. Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?," 9 July 2018 Other lines of freight business — the railroad's barge service, petroleum and domestic coal transport — all fell by 8 to 14 percent. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Railroad returned to profitability in 2017," 10 Apr. 2018 Nearly a decade after going under, Kiel Bros. sites still ranked among the top 10 recipients of state money for such cleanups in Indiana in 2013, the last year for which the petroleum industry has reliable spending data for the company. Brian Slodysko, The Courier-Journal, "Cleanup of Pence family's failed gas stations cost Indiana taxpayers $20M," 13 July 2018 North Korea imports nearly all of its refined petroleum products to fuel its struggling economy and leader Kim Jong Un’s military. Ian Talley, WSJ, "U.S. Calls Out China, Russia on North Korea Energy Caps, Urges U.N. Action," 12 July 2018 The United Nations sanctions also cut the North’s imports of refined petroleum products by 90 percent, causing gasoline prices to double. New York Times, "Keeping Summit Hopes Alive Suggests Kim Jong-un May Need a Deal," 26 May 2018 President Donald Trump is declaring that oil prices are too high and blaming a coalition of countries that control a significant portion of the world’s supply of crude petroleum. Washington Post, "Trump declares oil prices too high, blames OPEC," 14 June 2018 Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name) without adding any fillers of petroleum or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "The Best Natural and Organic Makeup Brands That Makeup Artists Actually Use," 6 June 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

13 Nov 2018

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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Comments on petroleum

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