Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Margarine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The various fats and oils that go into the making of margarine.
  • n. (by extension) margarine, an abbreviation of oleomargarine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An abbreviated form of oleomargarin.
  • n. Same as oleo-oil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a spread made chiefly from vegetable oils and used as a substitute for butter

Etymologies

Short for oleomargarine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin oleō, ablative singular of oleum ("olive oil"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But one thing about oleo is that it is a substitute for butter and, Mr. President, here we get to our ground for making merry, for I believe this to be the first time in the history of Canada that there has been a nation-wide rejoicing over no more substantial cause than the fact that a new substitute for something has been made accessible.

    On Resting Merry in 1948

  • It is usually made by churning soft beef fat (called oleo oil) and neutral

    School and Home Cooking

  • My grandmother used to write "oleo" on her recipe cards, too.

    Grandma's chocolate pie | Homesick Texan

  • I also smiled when I read "oleo", my mother in law is a born and bred south carolinian and all of her recipes have the word oleo.

    Texas sheet cake for a birthday | Homesick Texan

  • Judge S.H. Miller of Mercer County, before whom several oleomargarine dealers were recently convicted for the illegal sale of "oleo," has refused to sentence them on the ground that the procedure of the State Pure Food Bureau is persecution and lacking in equity.

    The American Judiciary

  • The rough bare boards of the walls, naked but for one old picture of a horse cut from a magazine, carefully pasted upside down, and probably designed chiefly to cover some defective spot that was admitting too much coldness; the crazy table shaking with every gust and causing a tiny kerosene lamp to flare up and menace the dim religious darkness by depositing even more lamp-black than was its wont on its already negrine globe; the meagre board of dark bread, "oleo," and molasses; the weird minstrelsy of the hurricane -- the whole a harmony of poverty and war.

    Labrador Days Tales of the Sea Toilers

  • "oleo" I've ever heard of was a not-ready-for-prime-time margarine that was popular back in the 60s.

    Epinions Recent Content for Home

  • By his telling, he was born on an oleo run to Illinois because the family couldn't get colored margarine in Wisconsin.

    Bob Uecker Is Still on the Active Roster

  • Food companies, for example, wanted the Food and Drug Act so that they could turn its regulations against their competitors (e.g., oleo versus butter).

    Matthew Yglesias » An Influential Idea I Didn’t Get in a Book

  • After the famous New York trial of her boyfriend and pimp Mickey Jelke, "the oleo-margarine heir," the former call girl Pat Ward had quietly married an osteopath and they lived in Hollywood, Florida.

    An Interview with Gail Godwin about her novel Queen of the Underworld, and her memoir The Making of a Writer, both published in early 2006.

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