verb (used with object)
- to discover oil, especially to bring in a well.
- to have good luck, especially financially; make an important and valuable discovery: They struck oil only after years of market research.
Origin of oil
- another name for petroleum
- (as modifier)an oil engine; an oil rig
- Also called: lubricating oilany of a number of substances usually derived from petroleum and used for lubrication
- (in combination)an oilcan; an oilstone
- (as modifier)an oil pump
- paraffin, esp when used as a domestic fuel
- (as modifier)an oil lamp; an oil stove
- (often plural)oil colour or paint
- (as modifier)an oil painting
- to discover petroleum while drilling for it
- informalto become very rich or successful
Word Origin for oil
late 12c., "olive oil," from Anglo-French and Old North French olie, from Old French oile, uile "oil" (12c., Modern French huile), from Latin oleum "oil, olive oil" (source of Spanish, Italian olio), from Greek elaion "olive tree," from elaia (see olive). Old English æle, Dutch olie, German Öl, etc. all are from Latin. It meant "olive oil" exclusively till c.1300, when meaning began to be extended to any fatty, greasy substance. Use for "petroleum" first recorded 1520s, but not common until 19c. The artist's oils (1660s), short for oil-color (1530s), are paints made by grinding pigment in oil.
mid-15c., from oil (n.). Related: Oiled; oiling. An Old English verb in this sense was besmyrian.
see banana oil; burn the midnight oil; grease (oil) someone's palm; grease (oil) the wheels; pour oil on troubled waters; strike it rich (oil).