Oil is a liquid fat or fuel. You might dress your salad with olive oil and use motor oil in your car's engine; just don't confuse the two!

There's the oil you put in your car or use to oil a rusty lock — then there's the oil you heat to stir fry vegetables or whisk with vinegar to make salad dressing. Chemically, these oils have a lot in common, from their tendency to avoid water to their slipperiness to the ease with which they catch on fire. Still, you'd never want to toss a bowl of spaghetti with motor oil — stick to olive oil instead.

Definitions of oil

n a slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water

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sassafras oil
oil from root bark of sassafras trees; used in perfumery and as a disinfectant
calamus oil
carcinogenic oil from calamus root used as a perfume
mustard oil
oil obtained from mustard seeds and used in making soap
colza oil, rape oil, rapeseed oil
edible light yellow to brown oil from rapeseed used also as a lubricant or illuminant
safflower oil
oil from safflower seeds used as food as well as in medicines and paints
hydnocarpus oil
oil from seeds of trees of the genus Hydnocarpus especially Hydnocarpus wightiana (Hydnocarpus laurifolia)
babacu oil, babassu oil
fatty oil from kernels of babassu nuts similar to coconut oil
cohune fat, cohune oil, cohune-nut oil
semisolid fat from nuts of the cohune palm; used in cooking and soap making
almond oil, expressed almond oil, sweet almond oil
pale yellow fatty oil expressed from sweet or bitter almonds
hedeoma oil, pennyroyal oil
aromatic oil from American pennyroyal
hyssop oil
used chiefly in liqueurs
spike lavender oil, spike oil
pale yellow essential oil obtained from spike lavender used in scenting soaps and cosmetics
pennyroyal oil
oil from European pennyroyal having an odor like mint; used chiefly in soaps
croton oil
viscid acrid brownish-yellow oil from the seeds of Croton tiglium having a violent cathartic action
fuel oil, heating oil
a petroleum product used for fuel
animal oil
any oil obtained from animal substances
camphor oil
oil distilled from camphor resin
grease, lubricating oil
a thick fatty oil (especially one used to lubricate machinery)
essential oil, volatile oil
an oil having the odor or flavor of the plant from which it comes; used in perfume and flavorings
mineral oil
a distillate of petroleum (especially one used medicinally as a laxative or stool softener)
motor oil
oil used to lubricate the moving parts of a motor
fatty oil, fixed oil
nonvolatile animal or plant oil
fusel oil
a mixture of amyl alcohols and propanol and butanol formed from distillation of fermented liquors
stand oil
a thick oil comprised of linseed, tung, or soya oils which have been heated to over 300 C
neroli oil
an odoriferous yellow oil found in orange flowers and used in perfumery and as a flavoring
tall oil
an oil derived from wood pulp and used in making soaps or lubricants
crude, crude oil, fossil oil, petroleum, rock oil
a dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons
shale oil
oil extracted from oil shale by heating
flaxseed oil, linseed oil
a drying oil extracted from flax seed and used in making such things as oil paints
Chinese wood oil, tung oil
a yellow oil obtained from the seeds of the tung tree
chaulmoogra oil
an oil from chaulmoogra trees; used in treatment of skin diseases and leprosy
lemon grass, lemongrass, lemongrass oil
an aromatic oil that smells like lemon and is widely used in Asian cooking and in perfumes and medicines
oil distilled from flowers of the ilang-ilang tree; used in perfumery
bitter almond oil
pale yellow essential oil obtained from bitter almonds by distillation from almond cake or meal
drying oil
an oil that hardens in air due to oxidation and is often used as a paint or varnish base
axle grease
a thick heavy grease used to lubricate axles
an insulating layer of fat under the skin of whales and other large marine mammals; used as a source of oil
Dippel's oil, bone oil
dark-colored ill-smelling oil obtained by carbonizing bone; used especially in sheep dips and in denaturing alcohol
bone oil
the liquid portion of bone fat; used as a lubricant and in leather manufacture
cod liver oil, cod-liver oil
an oil obtained from the livers of cod and similar fishes; taken orally as a source of vitamins A and D
lanolin, wool fat, wool grease
a yellow viscous animal oil extracted from wool; a mixture of fatty acids and esters; used in some ointments and cosmetics
fish oil, fish-liver oil
a fatty oil obtained from the livers of various fish
acylglycerol, glyceride
an ester of glycerol and fatty acids that occurs naturally as fats and fatty oils
goose grease
grease derived from geese
atar, athar, attar, ottar
essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers
clove oil, oil of cloves
essential oil obtained from cloves and used to flavor medicines
costus oil
a yellow volatile essential oil obtained from costusroot; used in perfumes
eucalyptus oil
an essential oil obtained from the leaves of eucalypts
oil of turpentine, spirit of turpentine, turpentine, turps
volatile liquid distilled from turpentine oleoresin; used as paint thinner and solvent and medicinally
absinthe oil, wormwood oil
a dark bitter oil obtained from wormwood leaves; flavors absinthe liqueurs
a colorless fragrant liquid found in many essential oils
halibut-liver oil
a fatty oil from halibut livers that is used as a source of vitamin A
lard oil
oil consisting chiefly of olein that is expressed from lard and used especially as a lubricant, cutting oil or illuminant
menhaden oil
a fatty oil obtained from the menhaden fish and used in paint and ink and in treating leather
neat's-foot oil
a pale yellow oil made from the feet and legs of cattle; used as a dressing for leather
gas oil
an oil formed through distillation of petroleum of intermediate boiling range and viscosity
oleo oil
obtained from beef fat; used in making margarine and soap and in lubrication
resid, residual oil
oil products that remain after petroleum has been distilled
porpoise oil
a yellow fatty oil obtained from porpoises and used as a fine lubricant
dolphin oil
an unsaturated fatty oil obtained from dolphins and used as a fine lubricant
salmon oil
a fatty oil obtained from the wastes in canning salmon; used in making soap and dressing leather
sardine oil
oil obtained from sardines and used chiefly as a lubricant and in soap
seal oil
a pale yellow to red-brown fatty oil obtained from seal blubber; used in making soap and dressing leather and as a lubricant
shark oil, shark-liver oil
a fatty yellow to brown oil obtained from the livers of sharks; used for dressing leather and as a source of vitamin A
sperm oil
an animal oil found in the blubber of the sperm whale
obtained from suet and used in making soap, candles and lubricants
tallow oil
an animal oil obtained by pressing tallow; used as a lubricant
train oil, whale oil
a white to brown oil obtained from whale blubber; formerly used as an illuminant
wool oil
any oil used to oil wool before spinning
Type of:
lipid, lipide, lipoid
an oily organic compound insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents; essential structural component of living cells (along with proteins and carbohydrates)

n any of a group of liquid edible fats that are obtained from plants

vegetable oil
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cooking oil
any of numerous vegetable oils used in cooking
sweet oil
mild vegetable oil when used as food; especially olive or edible rape oil
canola, canola oil
vegetable oil made from rapeseed; it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids
coconut oil, copra oil
oil from coconuts
corn oil
oil from the germs of corn grains
cottonseed oil
edible oil pressed from cottonseeds
olive oil
oil from olives
palm oil
oil from nuts of oil palms especially the African oil palm
groundnut oil, peanut oil
an oil from peanuts; used in cooking and making soap
salad oil
any of several edible vegetable oils that can be used in salad dressings
safflower oil
oil from seeds of the safflower plant
sesame oil
oil obtained from sesame seeds
soyabean oil, soybean oil
oil from soya beans
sunflower oil, sunflower-seed oil
oil from sunflower seeds
walnut oil
oil from walnuts
madia oil
used as a substitute for olive oil
drying oil
an oil that hardens in air due to oxidation and is often used as a paint or varnish base
Type of:
edible fat
oily or greasy matter making up the bulk of fatty tissue in animals and in seeds and other plant tissue

n a dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons

crude, crude oil, fossil oil, petroleum, rock oil
resid, residual oil
oil products that remain after petroleum has been distilled
Type of:
fossil fuel
fuel consisting of the remains of organisms preserved in rocks in the earth's crust with high carbon and hydrogen content

n oil paint containing pigment that is used by an artist

oil color, oil colour
Type of:
oil paint
paint in which a drying oil is the vehicle

v cover with oil, as if by rubbing

oil the wooden surface”
Type of:
provide with a covering or cause to be covered

v administer an oil or ointment to ; often in a religious ceremony of blessing

anele, anoint, embrocate, inunct
Type of:
give a benediction to

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