re·​fin·​ery | \ ri-ˈfī-nə-rē How to pronounce refinery (audio) , -ˈfīn-rē\
plural refineries

Definition of refinery

: a building and equipment for refining or processing something (such as oil or sugar)

Examples of refinery in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With pipelines unavailable, some producers have taken to exporting oil by train, using thousands of tanker cars to reach refineries or ports. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Railroad signs initial deal for link to Canada and the rest of the country," 28 June 2019 The June 21 fire at 150-year-old Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex in the South Philadelphia plant erupted after a fire in a vat of butane reportedly triggered a massive explosion. And, USA TODAY, "Shutdown of fire-gutted massive Philadelphia refinery pushes gas prices higher, costs 1,000 jobs," 27 June 2019 Residents east of the refinery complex were asked to shelter in place for about three hours, and roadways in the area remained closed as the morning rush hour began so that crews could respond. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Billowing fire, explosions at oil refinery shake South Philadelphia," 21 June 2019 Mile-long trains full of oil started moving crude in 2012, effectively turning the railroad tracks on both sides of the Columbia River Gorge into an oil pipeline between North Dakota oil fields and refineries in Washington and California., "Years after oil trains arrived, Oregon House passes spill planning bill," 17 June 2019 And wholesale prices in the West are falling even faster than elsewhere in the country as refineries there that had been shut come back online. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Gas prices could fall below $2 for many Americans," 12 June 2019 Much of the debate has focused on whether Minnesota and Midwest refineries need the extra oil. Washington Post, "Minnesota approves Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project," 28 June 2018 There was no gas for cars because the refineries came to a halt; the trains did not run, nor did the Paris Metro. Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times, "May 1968: A Month of Revolution Pushed France Into the Modern World," 5 May 2018 Apart from geopolitical concerns, fuel prices typically rise this time of year as refineries switch to churning out pricier summer-grade gasoline for the busy driving season ahead. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Gasoline prices hit highest point in three years," 12 Apr. 2018

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

circa 1741, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for refinery

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for refinery

The first known use of refinery was circa 1741

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More Definitions for refinery



English Language Learners Definition of refinery

: a place where the unwanted substances in something (such as oil or sugar) are removed : a place where something is refined


re·​fin·​ery | \ ri-ˈfī-nə-rē How to pronounce refinery (audio) \
plural refineries

Kids Definition of refinery

: a building and equipment where something (as oil or metal) is made pure and ready for use

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More from Merriam-Webster on refinery

Spanish Central: Translation of refinery

Nglish: Translation of refinery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refinery for Arabic Speakers

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