Definition of lanolin in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlan(ə)lɪn/


[mass noun]
A fatty substance found naturally on sheep’s wool. It is extracted as a yellowish viscous mixture of esters and used as a base for ointments.
Example sentences
  • Moisturizers contain humectants, such as glycerin, methyl glucose esters, lanolin, or mineral oil, that replace oils in the skin and promote its effectiveness as a moisture barrier.
  • Vitamin D3 from sheep's wool, lanolin, is acceptable as halal.
  • The young émigré began by packaging and peddling lanolin - sheep oil - disguising the odor with extracts of lavender, pine bark, and water lilies.


Late 19th century: coined in German from Latin lana 'wool' + oleum 'oil' + -in1.

  • wool from Old English:

    Wool is first recorded in Old English around ad 700 and can be traced back to a root shared by Latin lana ‘wool’, found in lanolin (late 19th century), literally ‘oil from wool’. The first person mentioned as trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes is an attorney, or American lawyer, in the mid 19th century, which implies that the ‘wool’ referred to is a lawyer's curly wig. The phrase may also be connected with the expression to wool someone, meaning to pull their hair or ‘wool’ as a joke or insult. Someone wild and woolly, or rough and uncouth, is so called in reference to cowboys in the Wild West who wore shaggy sheepskin garments with the wool on the outside. Woolly in the sense ‘vague or confused’ is early 19th century and draws on the idea of something woolly having a fuzzy, indistinct outline.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lan|olin

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