drilling mud

a water-based or oil-based suspension of clays pumped into an oil well during drilling in order to seal off porous rock layers, equalize the pressure, cool the bit, and flush out the cuttings.
Also called drilling fluid.
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World English Dictionary
drilling mud
a mixture of clays, water, and chemicals pumped down the drill string while an oil well is being drilled to lubricate the mechanism, carry away rock cuttings, and maintain pressure so that oil or gas does not escape

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica

drilling mud

mixture of clay, usually bentonite, and water used primarily in oil, gas, and water-drilling operations to carry rock cuttings to the surface and also to lubricate and cool the drilling bit. Special chemicals are added to the mud to compensate for the varying composition of the water and the formation being drilled and to increase the weight of the column. The drilling mud, by hydrostatic pressure, also helps prevent the collapse of unstable strata into the hole and the intrusion of water from water-bearing strata that may be encountered.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The next step is to try to staunch the flow proper with drilling mud, a mixture
  of water and clay minerals.
The well has the possibility of spilling natural gas condensate, crude oil and
  drilling mud.
For this purpose, finely-ground barite is added as a weighting agent to
  drilling mud.
It consists of diesel fuel and heavy metals in the pre-shot drilling mud pit.
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