c.1175, "olive oil," from Anglo-Fr. and O.N.Fr. olie, from O.Fr. oile (12c., Mod.Fr. huile), from L. oleum "oil, olive oil" (cf. Sp., It. olio), from Gk. elaion "olive tree," from elaia (see olive
). O.E. æle, Du. olie, Ger. Öl, etc. all are from Latin. It meant
"olive oil" exclusively till c.1300, when meaning began to be extended to any fatty, greasy substance. Use for "petroleum" first recorded 1526, but not common until 19c. The verb is c.1440, replacing O.E. besmyrian. The artist's oils (1663), short for oil-colour (1539), are paints made by grinding pigment in oil.