Meaning of OIL in English

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.

3 .

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:

cooking oil

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

in oils

I usually paint in oils (=using oils) .

⇨ burn the midnight oil at ↑ burn 1 (20), ⇨ pour oil on troubled waters at ↑ pour (8)

• • •


■ verbs

▪ 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

■ adjectives

▪ 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

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.