Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
- amyl acetate, CHCOCH, a colorless liquid with a bananalike odor, used in flavorings, in making lacquers, etc.
- Slang insincere talk
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
nounThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- A liquid mixture of amyl acetate and usually nitrocellulose, having a bananalike odor and used as a solvent or flavoring agent.
- See amyl acetate.
- Slang Insincere flattery; nonsensical exaggeration.
banana oil - Phrases/Idioms
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Nonsense, exaggerated flattery, as in I should be on television? Cut out the banana oil! The precise analogy in this idiom is not clear, unless it is to the fact that banana oil, a paint solvent and artificial flavoring agent, has no relation to the fruit other than that it smells like it. Possibly it is a variation on snake oil, a term for quack medicine that was extended to mean nonsense. [1920s]