oil Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “oil” in the English Dictionary

"oil" in British English

See all translations


uk   us   /ɔɪl/
  • oil noun (FUEL)

B1 [U] petroleum (= the ​black oil ​obtained from under the earth's ​surface from which ​petrol comes): drilling for oil the oil ​industryB1 [U] a ​thickliquid that comes from petroleum, used as a ​fuel and for making ​parts of ​machinesmoveeasily: diesel/​lubricating oil

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • oil noun (FOR COOKING)

A2 [C or U] a ​smooththickliquidproduced from ​plants or ​animals that is used in ​cooking: olive/​corn/​vegetable/​sunflower oil
  • oil noun (FOR BODY/HAIR)

[C or U] a ​smooththickliquid that is used to ​improve the ​appearance or ​quality of the ​skin or ​hair: bath oil
  • oil noun (PAINT)

oils [plural] thickpaints with an oil ​base, used for ​paintingpictures: Do you ​paint in oils or ​watercolours?

oilverb [T]

uk   us   /ɔɪl/
to put oil on something, ​especially a ​machine, usually to make it ​work more ​easily without ​sticking
See also
(Definition of oil from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"oil" in American English

See all translations


 us   /ɔɪl/
  • oil noun (FAT)

[C/U] thick, ​liquidfatobtained from ​plants which does not ​mix with ​water and is used esp. in ​cooking: [U] vegetable/​corn/​olive oil [U] I like oil and ​vinegar on my ​salad. [C] These ​cookies are made with ​soybean and ​palm oils.
  • oil noun (FUEL)

[U] a ​thick, ​liquidsubstance that ​burns and is used as ​fuel or as a ​lubricant (= ​substance that ​helpsconnectingparts move ​easily), or the ​thickliquid taken from under the ​ground which oil, ​gasoline, and other ​products are made from: motor oil fuel/​heating oil Change ​your car’s oil every 12,000 ​miles.
  • oil noun (LIQUID SUBSTANCE)

[C] any of a ​number of ​thickliquidsubstances that do not ​dissolve in ​water and are used in ​beautyproducts, ​paints, ​medicines, etc.

oilverb [T]

 us   /ɔɪl/
  • oil verb [T] (FUEL)

to ​add oil to something so it ​worksbetter: Oil the ​doorhinges so they ​stopsqueaking.
  • oil verb [T] (FAT)

to put oil on a ​pan or other ​surface that you ​cook on to ​keep things from ​sticking to it: Lightly oil the ​grill.
(Definition of oil from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"oil" in Business English

See all translations

oilnoun [U]

uk   us   /ɔɪl/
NATURAL RESOURCES a thick ​liquid that comes from under the Earth's surface and is used as a ​fuel and for making ​plastics, etc.: More than 6,000 ​rigs were ​drilling for oil and ​gas. The oil ​priceincrease is a genuine ​concern. The oil ​exporting countries might not be able to ​meetrisingworldconsumption.

oilverb [T]

uk   us   /ɔɪl/
to put oil on something, especially a ​machine, to make it ​work more easily without ​sticking: You may need to oil the wheels and joints.
oil the wheels informal ( US grease the wheels) to make it easier for something to ​happen, especially in ​business or ​politics: The new ​proposal will oil the wheels of deal-making by ensuring that the ​negotiations get off to a quicker ​start.
(Definition of oil from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Translations of “oil”
in Korean 식용유, 기름…
in Arabic زَيْت, بِتْرول…
in Malaysian minyak…
in French huile…
in Russian нефть, масло…
in Chinese (Traditional) 燃油, 潤滑油, 石油…
in Italian olio, petrolio…
in Turkish petrol, yemeklik yağ, sıvı yağ…
in Polish ropa (naftowa), olej…
in Spanish aceite, petróleo…
in Vietnamese dầu…
in Portuguese óleo, petróleo…
in Thai น้ำมัน…
in German das Öl…
in Catalan oli, petroli…
in Japanese 油, 石油…
in Chinese (Simplified) 燃油, 润滑油, 石油…
in Indonesian minyak…
What is the pronunciation of oil?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“oil” in Business English

Word of the Day


a large vehicle with a flat surface that is decorated and used in festivals

Word of the Day

by Colin McIntosh,
February 09, 2016
New words are entering the language all the time. A few of these are completely new and original coinages, but the vast majority are based on the existing stock of words in some way, for example by using affixes (prefixes and suffixes). These can have the effect of changing the meaning of the

Read More 

farecasting noun
farecasting noun
February 08, 2016
predicting the optimum date to buy a plane ticket, especially on a website or using an app A handful of new and updated websites and apps are trying to perfect the art of what’s known as farecasting – predicting the best date to buy a ticket.

Read More