A Word A Day : Unctuous
Sunday, 6th January 2008 : Today's Word is ...
( Adjective )
Pronunciation : úngk-choo-ess
1. characterized by excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, esp. in an affected manner
2. excessively smooth, suave, or smug
3. of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment
4. containing or composed of oil or fat
5. abundant in organic materials; soft and rich
Middle English, from Old French unctueus, from Medieval Latin ūnctuōsus, from Latin ūnctum, ointment, from neuter past participle of unguere, to anoint
ingratiating, sycophantic, obsequious, groveling, smug, phony, slimy, smarmy, creepy, oily, oily, greasy, fatty, slippery, slimy, well-coated
arrogant, blase, dull, unfriendly, ungracious, aboveboard, honest, open, principled, straightforward, trustworthy, truthful
• The unctuous
, complacent court composer who is consumed with envy and self-loathing, became our only help to come out of the court case.
• Salad oil is literally unctuous
• A used-car salesman might be figuratively unctuous
that he is oily in the sense of being slick, sleazy and insincere.
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