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

  • adj. Of or relating to oil.
  • adj. Falsely or smugly earnest; unctuous: oleaginous flattery. See Synonyms at unctuous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Oily, greasy.
  • adj. Falsely or affectedly earnest; persuasively suave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the nature or qualities of oil; oily; unctuous.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having the qualities of oil; oily; unctuous.
  • Figuratively, effusively and affectedly polite or fawning; sanctimonious; oily.

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

  • adj. unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech
  • adj. containing an unusual amount of grease or oil


From Middle English oliaginose and from French oléagineux (from Old French), both from Latin oleāginus, of the olive tree, from olea, olive tree, alteration (influenced by oleum, olive oil) of olīva; see olive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French oléagineux, from Latin oleāginus, from olea ("the olive fruit and tree"). (Wiktionary)


  • Amanda Platell, in the Daily Mail, wrote of the "tawdry, inexorable decline of Hugh Grant" whom she described as an "oleaginous, womanising lounge lizard".

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote, "If the word oleaginous didn't exist, someone would have to invent it to describe Rahm Emanuel." called him "arrogant, rash and power hungry" and described how he once "sent a rotting fish to a former coworker with whom he had parted ways."


  • Funny, isn't it, how Coulter drops ridiculous constructions like "oleaginous", but doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word "specious".


  • This kind of oleaginous 'repentence' is a growth industry for the '00s.


  • To avoid abrasions most all Scandinavian operators use some kind of oleaginous substance.

    Massage and the Original Swedish Movements

  • Boswell, he points out, was vain and lecherous, "oleaginous" in manner and - Articles related to PCB hopes Khan resumes captaincy

  • And just think, if we ever achieve proper reform and a genuinely proportional system, we might see the splitting apart of the big old parties and perhaps a genuinely progressive, genuinely viable alternative to the preening, self serving, oleaginous Labour Party, which has failed everyone in this country who claims a leftist or liberal bent, will emerge.

    Constitutional reform: Alternative currents | Editorial

  • Rubbish on the floor, a meal on a table, a crisp french fry dipped in still-glistening oleaginous ketchup.

    February « 2009 « Squares of Wheat

  • Joining her was mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel, with a delightfully oleaginous rendering of Clytemnestra that brought the bloodletting adulteress to new heights of malevolence.

    'Elektra' Electrifies in Madrid

  • As physicians we have long relinquished autonomy in the field of science and medicine to the oleaginous interests of industry.

    Qanta Ahmed, MD: Collateral Damage: The Hidden Costs of the Ariel Boycott


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Something swirled oleaginously through a huge vat of liquid mud: she saw toothy tentacles slapping at her and scouring the tank." From Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.

    December 5, 2011

  • Rather like unctuous. I'm not sure which I like better!

    August 16, 2008

  • It comes from "craie," the French word for "chalk," and "ola," for "oleaginous," or "oily." -- Wikipedia's article about Crayola.

    August 16, 2008