Definition of petroleum in English:



  • [mass noun] A liquid mixture of hydrocarbons which is present in suitable rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including petrol, paraffin, and diesel oil; oil.

    • ‘Eocene formations are important source or reservoir rocks for petroleum or gas in several parts of the world.’
    • ‘Liquid paraffin is a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum.’
    • ‘Crude oil, also known as petroleum, is the world's most actively traded commodity.’
    • ‘Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon derived from petroleum.’
    • ‘Products produced from petroleum, such as mineral oils, are classified as petrochemical pollutants.’
    lubricant, lubrication, grease
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin, from Latin petra rock (from Greek) + Latin oleum oil.