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sperm oil

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noun Chemistry.

a yellow, thin, water-insoluble liquid obtained from the sperm whale, used chiefly as a lubricant in light machinery, as watches, clocks, and scientific apparatus.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of sperm oil

First recorded in 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for sperm oil

sperm oil

noun

an oil obtained from the head of the sperm whale, used as a lubricant
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
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