banana oil

[ buh-nan-uh-oil ]

  1. Also called am·yl ac·e·tate [am-il as-i-teyt], /ˈæm ɪl ˈæs ɪˌteɪt/, am·yl·a·ce·tic e·ther [am-il-uh-see-tik ee-ther, -set-ik, am-] /ˈæm ɪl əˈsi tɪk ˈi θər, -ˈsɛt ɪk, ˌæm-/ . a sweet-smelling liquid ester, C7H14O2, a mixture of isomers derived from amyl alcohol and having the characteristic odor of bananas: used chiefly as a paint solvent and in artificial fruit flavors; amyl acetate.

  2. Slang. insincere talk; nonsense.

Origin of banana oil

First recorded in 1925–30

Words Nearby banana oil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use banana oil in a sentence

  • If there's any perfume fitter for a lost soul than attar of banana oil, it hasn't been discovered.

    Shorty McCabe | Sewell Ford
  • But, after all, it was the banana oil the aluminum paint was mixed with that turned the trick.

    Shorty McCabe | Sewell Ford

British Dictionary definitions for banana oil

banana oil

  1. a solution of cellulose nitrate in pentyl acetate or a similar solvent, which has a banana-like smell

  2. a nontechnical name for pentyl acetate

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with banana oil

banana oil

Nonsense, exaggerated flattery, as in I should be on television? Cut out the banana oil! The precise analogy in this idiom is not clear, unless it is to the fact that banana oil, a paint solvent and artificial flavoring agent, has no relation to the fruit other than that it smells like it. Possibly it is a variation on snake oil, a term for quack medicine that was extended to mean nonsense. [1920s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.