• synonyms

fusel oil

[fyoo-zuh l, -suh l]
  1. a mixture consisting chiefly of amyl alcohols obtained as a by-product in the fermentation of grains.
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Origin of fusel oil

First recorded in 1855–60, fusel oil is from the German word Fusel bad liquor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fusel oil

Historical Examples

  • There are still other kinds of alcohol, some of which are even worse than fusel-oil.

    First Book in Physiology and Hygiene

    J.H. Kellogg

  • Amylene (C5H10), an ethereal liquid with an aromatic odour, prepared from fusel-oil.

  • There are many poisonous pretenders to Scotch whiskey; and it is when fusel-oil masquerades as pure spirit that the evil comes.

British Dictionary definitions for fusel oil

fusel oil


  1. a mixture of amyl alcohols, propanol, and butanol: a by-product in the distillation of fermented liquors used as a source of amyl alcohols
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Word Origin

C19: from German Fusel bad spirits
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

fusel oil in Science

fusel oil

  1. An acrid, oily, poisonous liquid occurring in the distillation products of fermented alcoholic liquids. Fusel oil is a mixture of amyl alcohols, fatty acids, and esters. It is used in paints, plastics, and varnishes, and in the manufacture of explosives.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.