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noun, plural re·fin·er·ies.
  1. an establishment for refining something, as metal, sugar, or petroleum.
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Origin of refinery

First recorded in 1720–30; refine + -ery
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for refinery


noun plural -eries
  1. a factory for the purification of some crude material, such as ore, sugar, oil, etc
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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 refinery


1727, from refine + -ery. Originally in metallurgy and sugar-making; of petroleum by 1865.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

refinery in Science


  1. An industrial plant that uses mechanical and chemical means to purify a substance, such as petroleum or sugar, or to convert it to a form that is more useful.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.