An oil is any neutral, nonpolar chemical substance that is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures and is both hydrophobic (immiscible with water, literally "water fearing") and lipophilic (miscible with other oils, literally "fat loving"). Oils have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are usually flammable and slippery.
The general definition of oil includes classes of chemical compounds that may be otherwise unrelated in structure, properties, and uses. Oils may be animal, vegetable, or petrochemical in origin, and may be volatile or non-volatile. They are used for food, fuel, lubrication, and the manufacture of paints, plastics, and other materials. Specially prepared oils are used in some religious ceremonies as purifying agents.
First attested in English 1176, the word oil comes from Old French oile, from Latin oleum, which in turn comes from the Greek ἔλαιον (elaion), "olive oil, oil" and that from ἐλαία (elaia), "olive tree", "olive fruit". The earliest attested forms of the word are the Mycenaean Greek 𐀁𐀨𐀺, e-ra-wo and 𐀁𐁉𐀺, e-rai-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.