Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A colorless or pale yellowish oil extracted from the seeds of the castor-oil plant, used pharmaceutically as a laxative and skin softener and industrially as a lubricant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the pale yellow vegetable oil extracted from the castor bean; used as a laxative and an industrial lubricant

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A mild cathartic oil, expressed or extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis, or Palma Christi. When fresh the oil is inodorous and insipid.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The oil yielded by the seeds of Ricinus communis (the castor-oil plant), a native of India, but now distributed over all the warmer regions of the globe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a purgative extracted from the seed of the castor-oil plant; used in paint and varnish as well as medically

Etymologies

Possibly from a former use as a substitute for castor in medicine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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