One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy.
greasygreasy, fatty, buttery, swimming in fat, swimming in oilunctuous, fawning, ingratiating, smooth, smooth-talking, fulsome, flattering, glib, obsequious, sycophantic, soapy, servile, subservientView synonyms
- ‘In the space of a few short months, humanity has roused itself from the recurring nightmare of history - of bulldozer violence forever powered by oleaginous lies - and has flung open the curtains to let in the light.’
- ‘The egg was like no egg I have ever seen: it had the appearance of a oleaginous floppy styrofoam sheet folded twice over into a perfect square.’
- ‘And who can forget those 60s ads where merry bands of nymphomaniacs roamed the streets seeking the tell-tale oleaginous glint of a man who had just applied Brylcreem - ‘Use more only if you dare!’’
- ‘‘Chalky’ feels like spending time becalmed in an oleaginous ocean, noxious gas clouds occasionally swirling round in the dim light.’
2Exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious.‘candidates made the usual oleaginous speeches in the debate’
obsequious, sycophantic, excessively deferential, subservient, fawning, toadying, ingratiating, unctuous, oily, greasy, reptilian, grovelling, cringing, toadyish, sycophantish, slavish, abject, craven, humble, uriah heepish, self-abasingView synonyms
- ‘I'm not going to name our guests, because I don't want them to be associated with this place, and because a man whom I assume was the owner made such an oleaginous, starstruck fool of himself.’
- ‘Philip was a sly and somewhat oleaginous character but also an effective, resolute, and respected king.’
- ‘Evidently aware that namedropping is so Nineties, the oleaginous journalist has mastered the millennial equivalent - place-dropping.’
- ‘I gave an oleaginous greeting to my secretary and told her I had finished the consult.’
- ‘Around 140 people are milling around in the foyer before being led into the conference room where lights, music, videos and an oleaginous Master of Ceremonies kick things off.’
- ‘Perry is an architect who is bidding for a contract with an oleaginous millionaire.’
- ‘Every conversation was interrupted with oleaginous humility and victim-like whining.’
- ‘I'm just telling you who the guy is - there's no reason why you should conclude that he is an oleaginous ex-autocrat who works for the interests of Western capital.’
- ‘Some of his more recent panegyrics to the ‘British dream’ emerge curdled and oleaginous.’
- ‘But to cap it all, when I met him shortly after in a corridor he was oleaginous and smiley.’
- ‘In his review the other week, he wrote ‘I'm not going to name our guests,’ but went on to observe that, ‘the owner made an oleaginous, starstruck fool of himself’.’
- ‘The first, a likeable and oleaginous drunk of around fifty, was all.’
- ‘It is fitting that the oleaginous politicians who so wrapped themselves in the expected glory of this purposeless structure have seen their carefully crafted images begin to fade as quickly as their Dome's delights.’
- ‘However, there was a downside to paying repeated homage to this oleaginous expatriate.’
- ‘Unsurprisingly, our oleaginous Prime Minister, after striving to weaken protection for British workers on his last Euro-adventure, is in the vanguard of this movement.’
- ‘Is the consultant being pleasant or oleaginous, altruistic or avaricious?’
- ‘A scruffy soldier takes the stage, hired to appear by the oleaginous host.’
- ‘With some help from Mario whom even as a stripling I found pretty oleaginous, the French menu was interpreted.’
- ‘Naturally, the oleaginous Gazoo publisher played down rumours that he might be seeking the no-hope gig.’
- ‘As a result, the guitar and organ solos are so greasy, they don't so much adorn the groove as drip from it, one oleaginous note at a time.’
- ‘‘My dears,’ he crooned, in a soft, oleaginous tone, ‘I want you to come with me tomorrow on an ocean adventure.’’
Late Middle English: from French oléagineux, from Latin oleaginus ‘of the olive tree’, from oleum ‘oil’.
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