oil shale


noun Geology.

a black or dark-brown shale or siltstone rich in bitumens, from which shale oil is obtained by destructive distillation.

Origin of oil shale

First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oil shale

  • Oil-shale is plentiful on the Congo River near Ponthierville and good indications of oil are recorded in other places.

    An African Adventure|Isaac F. Marcosson

British Dictionary definitions for oil shale

oil shale


a fine-grained shale containing oil, which can be extracted by heating
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

Science definitions for oil shale

oil shale

A fine-grained black or dark brown shale containing hydrocarbons in the form of kerogen. When heated, oil shale yields petroleum or natural gas.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.