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From Middle English gresi, gressy, equivalent to grease +‎ -y.



greasy (comparative greasier, superlative greasiest)

  1. Having a slippery surface; having a surface covered with grease.
    a greasy mineral
    • c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
      [] mechanic slaves
      With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall
      Uplift us to the view []
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas[1], London: André Deutsch, Part One, Chapter 2, p. 54:
      it was in the garage that Alec worked, [] doing mysterious greasy things. Grease blackened his hairy legs; grease had turned his white canvas shoes black; grease blackened his hands even beyond the wrist; grease made his short working trousers black and stiff. Yet he had the gift, which Mr Biswas admired, of being able to hold a cigarette between greasy fingers and greasy lips without staining it.
  2. Containing a lot of grease or fat.
    • c. 1795, Margaret Taylor, Mrs. Taylor’s Family Companion: or The Whole Art of Cookery Display’d, London: W. Lane, “To fry flat Fish,” p. 37,[2]
      Before you dish them up, lay them upon a drainer before the fire sloping, for two or three minutes, which will prevent their eating greasy.
    • 2010, Gavin Hoffen, Dandelion, page 3:
      With a skin full of alcohol and a probable overwhelming desire for a greasy kebab, I had evidently got myself into such a state that I was unable to locate the correct door to the fast food shop.
    • 2012 May 3, Felicity Cloake, “How to cook perfect garlic bread”, in the Guardian[3]:
      Nigel and Richard Bertinet go for butter. Jamie and Nigella both opt for olive oil, and Garten uses a mixture, spreading the bread generously with butter, then topping it with garlic and herbs in olive oil. Oil, to my taste, simply makes the bread seem greasy: it's great for dipping, but it doesn't seem to soak into the bread in the same way as butter – I've probably just got hopelessly rich Anglo-Saxon tastes, but for me, it's butter all the way.
  3. (slang) Shady, sketchy, dodgy, detestable, unethical.
    • 2004 April 25, “Trailer Park Boys episode "Rub N Tiz'zug"”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[4]:
      Julian: We're gonna fill the trailers up with furniture all right, boys, but we're gonna rent them out by the hour.
      Bubbles: Aw, that's greasy.
  4. (obsolete) Fat, bulky.
  5. (obsolete) Gross; indelicate; indecent.
    • 1601, John Marston, Jack Drum’s Entertainment[5], London: Richard Olive, act I:
      Now I am perfect hate, I lou’d but three things in the world, Philosophy, Thrift, and my self. Thou hast made me hate Philosophy. A Vsurers greasie Codpeece made me loath Thrift: but if all the Brewers Iades in the town can drug me from loue of my selfe, they shall doo more then e’re the seuen wise men of Greece could []
  6. (of a horse) Afflicted with the disease called grease.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ greasy”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present., has both /s/ and /z/ without labelling them as limited to any particular dialects or areas