[ uhngk-choo-uh s ]
/ ˈʌŋk tʃu əs /


characterized by excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, especially in an affected manner; excessively smooth, suave, or smug.
of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy.
having an oily or soapy feel, as certain minerals.

Origin of unctuous

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin ūnctuōsus, equivalent to Latin ūnctu(s) act of anointing (ung(uere) to smear, anoint + -tus suffix of v. action) + -ōsus -ous

Related forms

unc·tu·ous·ly, adverbunc·tu·ous·ness, unc·tu·os·i·ty [uhngk-choo-os-i-tee] /ˌʌŋk tʃuˈɒs ɪ ti/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unctuous

British Dictionary definitions for unctuous


/ (ˈʌŋktjʊəs) /


slippery or greasy
affecting an oily charm

Derived Forms

unctuosity (ˌʌŋktjʊˈɒsɪtɪ) or unctuousness, noununctuously, adverb

Word Origin for unctuous

C14: from Medieval Latin unctuōsus, from Latin unctum ointment, from ungere to anoint
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

Medicine definitions for unctuous


[ ŭngkchōō-əs ]


Containing or composed of oil or fat.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.