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  1. a fatty substance, extracted from wool, used in ointments, cosmetics, waterproof coatings, etc.
Also lan·o·line [lan-l-in, -l-een] /ˈlæn l ɪn, -lˌin/.

Origin of lanolin

1880–85; < Latin lān(a) wool + -ol2 + -in2
Also called wool fat.
Related formslan·o·lat·ed [lan-l-ey-tid] /ˈlæn lˌeɪ tɪd/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lanoline

Historical Examples

  • Oh, Mrs. Lanoline's a dear—she asked for a husband as if he were an umbrella.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • This wool fat or lanoline is used in making soap and ointments.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

  • Dioscorides was also learned in the preparation of wool fat, which he calls sypum, known to modern pharmacists as lanoline.

  • We agreed that Mr. Lanoline's a notty, notty man, and hasn't no business to go on the lardy-da.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Ichthyol, 10 to 20% in lanoline spread on linen and worn at night, often dispels an attack at the beginning.

British Dictionary definitions for lanoline


lanoline (ˈlænəlɪn, -ˌliːn)

  1. a yellowish viscous substance extracted from wool, consisting of a mixture of esters of fatty acids: used in some ointmentsAlso called: wool fat
Derived Formslanolated (ˈlænəˌleɪtɪd), adjective

Word Origin

C19: via German from Latin lāna wool + oleum oil; see -in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lanoline



fatty matter extracted from sheep's wool," 1885, from German Lanolin, coined by German physician Mathias Eugenius Oscar Liebreich (1838-1908) from Latin lana "wool" (see wool) + oleum "oil, fat" (see oil (n.)) + chemical suffix -in (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lanoline in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A fatty substance obtained from wool and used in soaps, cosmetics, and ointments.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lanoline in Science


  1. A yellowish-white wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep to coat wool. Lanolin is composed of esters and polyesters of almost seventy alcohols and fatty acids. Since it is easily absorbed by the skin, it is used in soaps, cosmetics, and ointments.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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