• synonyms


adjective, oil·i·er, oil·i·est.
  1. smeared or covered with oil; greasy: an oily road surface.
  2. of the nature of, consisting of, or resembling oil.
  3. of or relating to oil.
  4. full of or containing oil.
  5. smooth or unctuous, as in manner or speech: an oily hypocrite.
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  1. in an oily manner.
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Origin of oily

First recorded in 1520–30; oil + -y1
Related formsoil·i·ness, nounnon·oil·y, adjectiveun·oil·y, adjective


5. fawning, smarmy, bootlicking.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oiliness

Historical Examples

  • Surely, he thought, there was a suggestion of oiliness about it, and—then in a moment he knew.

    A Chinese Command

    Harry Collingwood

  • His manner was cordial to the point of oiliness, yet cold and insincere.

    I Walked in Arden

    Jack Crawford

  • The seeds, however, are oily, and this oiliness preserves them.

    Wildflowers of the Farm

    Arthur Owens Cooke

  • Carefully take off the skin, as its oiliness will give the fish a strong and disagreeable taste when cooked.

  • Very refreshing in warm weather and an excellent remedy for oiliness of the skin.

    The Golden Age Cook Book

    Henrietta Latham Dwight

British Dictionary definitions for oiliness


adjective oilier or oiliest
  1. soaked in or smeared with oil or grease
  2. consisting of, containing, or resembling oil
  3. flatteringly servile or obsequious
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Derived Formsoilily, adverboiliness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for oiliness



1520s, from oil (n.) + -y (2). Figurative meaning "smooth, unctuous" is from 1590s. Related: Oiliness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper