Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definitions and thesaurus

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun oil pronunciation in British English /ɔɪl/
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [uncountable] a thick dark smooth liquid from under the ground, used for making petrol and other fuels

    The Middle Eastern countries produce most of the world’s oil.

    We need to do more to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

    Heat can be provided by oil, gas, or electricity.

    North Sea oil

    crude oil (=oil in its natural state):

    A large tanker can carry several million tons of crude oil.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to this liquid

      Oil prices will probably rise again next year.

      an oil company

      China has large coal and oil reserves.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] a thick smooth liquid used in an engine, so it will work smoothly

    Change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles.

  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] a thick smooth liquid used in cooking and preparing food, and in medicines

    Cook the chicken in some oil.

    vegetable/olive/sunflower oil

    peanut/sesame/walnut oil

    cod liver oil

  4. 5
    [countable/uncountable] [usually plural] a type of paint that contains oil
    in oils:

    I prefer to work in oils.

    1. a.
      [countable] a painting made with paint that contains oil

      We saw an exhibition of oils and watercolours by local artists.


… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog