Careful Words

oil (n.)

oil (v.)

oil (adj.)

A business with an income at its heels

Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.

William Cowper (1731-1800): Retirement. Line 614.

  Everything is soothed by oil, and this is the reason why divers send out small quantities of it from their mouths, because it smooths every part which is rough.

Pliny The Elder (23-79 a d): Natural History. Book ii. Sect. 234.

In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her,

Save thine "incomparable oil," Macassar!

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Don Juan. Canto i. Stanza 17.

  An handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse.

Old Testament: 1 Kings xvii. 12.

Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil

O'er books consum'd the midnight oil?

John Gay (1688-1732): Fables. Part i. The Shepherd and the Philosopher.

  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail.

Old Testament: 1 Kings xvii. 16.

  Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Old Testament: Isaiah lxi. 3.

  Why does pouring oil on the sea make it clear and calm? Is it for that the winds, slipping the smooth oil, have no force, nor cause any waves?

Plutarch (46(?)-120(?) a d):

Our wasted oil unprofitably burns,

Like hidden lamps in old sepulchral urns.

William Cowper (1731-1800): Conversation. Line 357.