Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 6, 2020 is:

oleaginous • oh-lee-AJ-uh-nus  • adjective

1 : resembling or having the properties of oil : oily; also : containing or producing oil

2 : marked by an offensively ingratiating manner or quality


The clerk’s charm is in the eye of the beholder: where some see a quick smile and ready compliment, others see an oleaginous demeanor.

“The antagonists (calling them villains would go too far) were superbly embodied by Catherine Cook as Marcellina …, Greg Fedderly as the oleaginous Basilio, and James Creswell as Dr. Bartolo….” — Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Oct. 2019

Did you know?

The oily oleaginous slipped into English via Middle French oleagineux, coming from Latin oleagineus, meaning “of an olive tree.” Oleagineus itself is from Latin olea, meaning “olive tree,” and ultimately from Greek elaia, meaning “olive.” Oleaginous was at first used in a literal sense, as it still can be. An oleaginous substance is simply oily, and an oleaginous plant produces oil. The word took on its extended “ingratiating” sense in the 19th century.

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