castor oil

noun
  1. a colorless to pale yellow, viscid liquid, usually obtained from the castor bean by a pressing process: used as a lubricant, in the manufacture of certain soaps and creams, and in medicine chiefly as a cathartic.

Origin of castor oil

1740–50; castor (perhaps variant spelling of caster) + oil; perhaps so called because of its purgative effect
Also called ricinus oil.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of castor oil


British Dictionary definitions for castor oil

castor oil

noun
  1. a colourless or yellow glutinous oil obtained from the seeds of the castor-oil plant and used as a fine lubricant and as a cathartic
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

castor oil in Medicine

castor oil

[kăstər]
n.
  1. 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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.