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Definition of unctuous


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unc·tu·ous  audio  (ngkch-s) KEY 

ADJECTIVE:
  1. Characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness: "the unctuous, complacent court composer who is consumed with envy and self-loathing" (Rhoda Koenig).
  2. Having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment; slippery.
  3. Containing or composed of oil or fat.
  4. Abundant in organic materials; soft and rich: unctuous soil.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English, from Old French unctueus, from Medieval Latin nctusus, from Latin nctum, ointment, from neuter past participle of unguere, to anoint

OTHER FORMS:
unctu·ous·ly(Adverb), unctu·ous·ness or unctu·osi·ty  (-s-t) KEY (Noun)

SYNONYMS:
unctuous, fulsome, oily, oleaginous, smarmy

These adjectives mean insincerely, self-servingly, or smugly agreeable or earnest: an unctuous toady; gave the dictator a fulsome introduction; oily praise; oleaginous hypocrisy; smarmy self-importance.


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