Definition of train oil in English:

Share this entry

train oil


[mass noun] chiefly historical
Oil obtained from the blubber of a whale (and formerly of other sea creatures), especially the right whale.
Example sentences
  • I shudder when I think of the portions we received: seven or eight enormous black steaks, swimming in fried train oil, and garnished with bits of blubber.
  • However, at this time there were already many established firms that produced train oil and thus held a certain monopoly.
  • That's difficult for me to understand, however enlightened I may be with sun, moon, stearine, train oil, and tallow.


Mid 16th century: from obsolete train 'train oil', from Middle Low German trän, Middle Dutch traen, literally 'tear' (because it was extracted in droplets).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.