1Excessively flattering or ingratiating; oily: he seemed anxious to please but not in an unctuous way
More example sentences
- Another commentator derided the presenter's ‘mixture of solicitous concern, unctuous charm and glib moralising.’
- He is as unctuous as they come and as slippery and lethal as a herd of rattlers in a barrel of oil.
- I wouldn't waste two seconds listening to that unctuous socialite.
sycophantic, ingratiating, obsequious, fawning, servile, self-abasing, grovelling, subservient, wheedling, cajoling, crawling, cringing, Uriah Heepish, humble, toadying, hypocritical, insincere, flattering, adulatory, honey-tongued, silver-tongued, gushing, effusive, suave, urbane, glib, smooth, smooth-tongued, smooth-spoken, smooth-talking, slick, slippery, saccharine;
oily, oleaginous, greasy;
cloying, nauseating, sickening
informal smarmy, slimy, bootlicking, forelock-tugging, phoney, sucky, soapy
North American informal brown-nosing, apple-polishing
British vulgar slang arse-licking, bum-sucking
North American vulgar slang ass-kissing, kiss-ass
rare saponaceous, pinguid
2(Chiefly of minerals) having a greasy or soapy feel.
- Still, the lure of any luxury item - whether it be Beluga caviar, Dom Perignon champagne or an unctuous blob of sea-urchin roe - springs partly from its cost.
- Example sentences
- ‘Neither pots nor pans, nor dish nor spoon should be spared,’ he announced unctuously.
- He and his foreign minister have unctuously said that ‘force is always the last resort.’
- As one settles in amid the eminently tasteful pine green and deep brown colour scheme, one is instantaneously attended to by the most unctuously helpful staff.
- Example sentences
- It is every thing that one could hope for in a dessert wine, complex flavours (a veritable fruit bowl of exotic fruits), unctuousness, sweetness without being cloying thanks to a hint of noble rot.
- An assembly of fresh wild mushrooms was heavily scented with dried ceps, the cheese had been employed with restraint, adding unctuousness to the sauce, and interesting secondary flavour.
- Maybe not, but what gratifying editorial unctuousness… Will I blurb a book because its editor implores me charmingly?
Late Middle English (in the sense 'greasy'): from medieval Latin unctuosus, from Latin unctus 'anointing', from unguere 'anoint'.
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: unc¦tu|ous
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