I. oil 1 S2 W1 /ɔɪl/ BrE AmE noun
[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: oile , from Latin oleum 'olive oil' , from Greek elaia 'olive' ]
1 . NATURAL SUBSTANCE UNDER THE GROUND [uncountable] the thick dark liquid from under the ground from which petrol is produced ⇨ crude :
a rise in the price of oil
the importance of protecting our oil supplies
an oil refinery (=factory where oil is made purer)
2 . FUEL [uncountable] a smooth thick liquid that is used to make machines run easily or is burned to produce heat:
Check the oil level in your car every week.
The heating system runs on oil.
LIQUID FROM PLANTS [uncountable and countable] a smooth thick liquid made from plants or some animals, used especially in cooking or for making beauty products:
olive/vegetable/sunflower etc oil
coconut oil shampoo
Fish oils are supposed to help relieve arthritis.
⇨ ↑ castor oil , ↑ cod-liver oil , ↑ linseed oil
4 . PAINT oils [plural] paints that contain oil SYN oil paints
I usually paint in oils (=using oils) .
⇨ burn the midnight oil at ↑ burn 1 (20), ⇨ pour oil on troubled waters at ↑ pour (8)
• • •
▪ discover/find oil
Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.
How does a company go about finding oil and getting it from the ground?
▪ hit/strike oil (=to find oil when you are digging for it)
The engineers drilled down a few hundred metres until they hit oil.
The Ohio Oil Company struck oil on May 3rd.
▪ drill for oil
Plans to drill for oil off the New South Wales coast have recently been revived.
▪ produce oil (=to have natural areas of oil, and take it out of the ground)
The US does not produce enough oil to meet its own needs.
▪ extract oil formal (=to take oil out of an area)
the difficult process of extracting the oil
▪ crude oil (=oil in its natural state)
the price of crude oil
▪ refined oil (=oil that has been treated by an industrial process)
They had exported refined oil.
▪ offshore oil (=found under the sea, not far from the coast)
The company has the technical capabilities to produce offshore oil.
▪ heavy/light oil
2,000 barrels of heavy oil are produced a day.
The oil corporation announced the discovery of another field of light oil.
■ oil + NOUN
▪ oil prices
The increase in oil prices has prompted warnings of a global recession.
▪ the oil industry
He works in in the oil industry.
▪ an oil company
YPF was the state oil company in Argentina.
▪ an oil producer (=a country which produces oil)
The Soviet Union is the world's largest oil producer.
▪ an oil refinery (=a place where oil is treated by an industrial process)
an oil refinery in Perth
▪ oil production
a fall in US oil production
▪ an oil spill (=situation in which oil comes out of a ship or other container into the sea)
a terrible oil spill near the Shetland Islands
▪ an oil crisis (=situation in which there is not enough oil, and the price of oil is very high)
The world is facing an oil crisis.
▪ an oil rig (=structure on land or in the sea with equipment for getting oil out of the ground)
an oil rig in the North Sea
II. oil 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]
1 . to put oil onto part of a machine or part of something that moves, to help it to move or work more smoothly:
The bicycle chain needs oiling.
2 . to put oil or cream onto your skin, for example to protect you from the sun:
I asked Simon to oil my back for me.
3 . oil the wheels British English to help something to be done in business or politics successfully and easily