banana oil

noun
1.
a sweet-smelling liquid ester, C 7 H 14 O 2 , a mixture of isomers derived from amyl alcohol and having the characteristic odor of bananas: used chiefly as a paint solvent and in artificial fruit flavors; amyl acetate.
2.
Slang. insincere talk; nonsense.

Origin:
1925–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To banana oil
Collins
World English Dictionary
banana oil
 
n
1.  a solution of cellulose nitrate in pentyl acetate or a similar solvent, which has a banana-like smell
2.  a nontechnical name for pentyl acetate

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

banana oil

Nonsense, exaggerated flattery, as in I should be on television? Cut out the banana oil! The precise analogy in this idiom is not clear, unless it is to the fact that banana oil, a paint solvent and artificial flavoring agent, has no relation to the fruit other than that it smells like it. Possibly it is a variation on snake oil, a term for quack medicine that was extended to mean nonsense. [1920s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
One of these bottles also contains a small amount of banana oil.
The purpose of this test is to determine if you can smell banana oil at a low
  concentration.
The banana oil method is not suited for fit-testing dust masks.
It's strictly the banana oil test being able to mask, basic soldier, common
  task training.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature