- an oily, thick, flammable, usually dark-colored liquid that is a form of bitumen or a mixture of various hydrocarbons, occurring naturally in various parts of the world and commonly obtained by drilling: used in a natural or refined state as fuel, or separated by distillation into gasoline, naphtha, benzene, kerosene, paraffin, etc.
Origin of petroleum
1520–30; < Medieval Latin: literally, rock oil, equivalent to Latin petr(a) rock (< Greek pétra) + oleum oil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for petroleum
The petroleum industry has depicted fracking as a few antiseptic drills dug on peaceful farmland.New York’s Conservative Fracking Ban
December 20, 2014
Michael keeps his cool until he sees piles of Petroleum Coke on the banks of the Athabasca.
Petroleum from up here is often called the dirtiest oil in the world.
By contrast, petroleum engineering and metallurgy degrees promise median earnings of $120,000 and $80,000.
If a woman wants to be a teacher rather than a miner, or a veterinarian rather than a petroleum engineer, more power to her.
It also chanced that this whole country abounded in signs of petroleum.Memoirs
Charles Godfrey Leland
This petroleum also contains asphalt and other chemical products.
It has a grade of petroleum that differs from any other thus far found in the world.
Kerosene oil is only one of the many substances found in petroleum.Diggers in the Earth
Eva March Tappan
The petroleum is conveyed by pipe lines to the refineries at Baku.Commercial Geography
Jacques W. Redway
- a dark-coloured thick flammable crude oil occurring in sedimentary rocks around the Persian Gulf, in parts of North and South America, and below the North Sea, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons. Fractional distillation separates the crude oil into petrol, paraffin, diesel oil, lubricating oil, etc. Fuel oil, paraffin wax, asphalt, and carbon black are extracted from the residue
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin petra stone + oleum oil
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 petroleum
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A thick, flammable, yellow-to-black mixture of gaseous, liquid, and solid hydrocarbons that occurs naturally beneath the Earth's surface. It can be separated into fractions including natural gas, gasoline, naphtha, kerosene, paraffin wax, asphalt, and fuel and lubricating oils, and is used as raw material for a wide variety of derivative products. It is believed to originate from the accumulated remains of fossil plants and animals, especially in shallow marine environments.
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