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banana oil

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noun
  1. 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.
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Origin of banana oil

First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for banana oil

banana oil

noun
  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
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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

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]

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