Share this entry

Share this page

snake oil

Syllabification: snake oil

Definition of snake oil in English:

noun

informal , chiefly North American
1A substance with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for all diseases.
Example sentences
  • Ever since, unwary Americans have spent untold billions on contemporary versions of snake oil, some of which, like ephedra, have turned out to have few if any benefits and to pose real dangers.
  • Maybe his private chemist cooked up an elixir of bathtub gin, snake oil and Smith Brothers cough drops.
  • We need good medicine, not more jokey formulas for snake oil.
1.1A product, policy, etc. of little real worth or value that is promoted as the solution to a problem: the new tax plan was denounced as snake oil

Definition of snake oil in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtərpsikəˈrēən
adjective
of or relating to dancing