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[loo-bri-kuh nt] /ˈlu brɪ kənt/
a substance, as oil or grease, for lessening friction, especially in the working parts of a mechanism.
capable of lubricating; used to lubricate.
Origin of lubricant
1815-25; < Latin lūbricant- (stem of lūbricāns), present participle of lūbricāre to make slippery. See lubric, -ant
Related forms
nonlubricant, noun
unlubricant, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lubricant
  • Water is the lubricant, the grease that makes biochemistry possible.
  • Trust is the essential lubricant of commercial activity.
  • The former is a necessary lubricant in any engine of economic growth.
  • The lubricant mixes with neither water nor oils, and it barely evaporates.
  • The oil serves as a lubricant for any debris that sticks to the shell.
  • But in this case, oil could be the lubricant that keeps the peace process going.
  • Its giant bunches of red fruits are rich in oil that proved useful in soap and later as a lubricant for steam engines.
  • Hotels around the world are betting that books are the social lubricant of the future.
  • It is an essential lubricant to meals of this nature.
British Dictionary definitions for lubricant


a lubricating substance, such as oil
serving to lubricate
Word Origin
C19: from Latin lūbricāns, present participle of lūbricāre. See lubricate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lubricant

1828, probably from lubricant (adj.), or from Latin lubricantem.


"reducing friction," 1809, from Latin lubricantem (nominative lubricans), present participle of lubricare "to make slippery or smooth," from lubricus "slippery; easily moved, sliding, gliding;" figuratively "uncertain, hazardous, dangerous; seductive," from PIE *sleubh- "to slip, slide" (see sleeve).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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