Zsófi (zsozsoka) wrote in linguaphiles,

Meaning of "oily"

Could someone please explain to me what "oily" means in the following context?

"Giving people a chance to see at first hand an alien craft, designed albeit by a human being and in decidedly Earth-based terrestrial materials, will be an instant shock," explains Lovegrove, "showing us how primitive, oily and unimaginative we are."
Tags: english
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January 28 2014, 16:50:04 UTC 1 year ago

3. Excessively suave in action or behavior; unctuous. See Synonyms at unctuous.


January 28 2014, 17:05:25 UTC 1 year ago



February 1 2014, 09:55:12 UTC 1 year ago

Yes, though in this context it would mean something worse than 'unctious'. I read it as fitting with 'unimaginative' rather than with the materials.

Kind of odd either way, though.


January 28 2014, 16:57:55 UTC 1 year ago

See, I think it might actually be a reference to the physical properties of oil, given that it talks about Earth-based materials. Perhaps the author means to say that alien craft probably isn't based so much on the petroleum products that we rely so heavily on?


January 28 2014, 17:08:36 UTC 1 year ago

I think that sounds more likely than the other possibility given, unless they had been behaving in that way earlier. Or kind of alluding to original slime, meaning we are backward?


January 28 2014, 17:18:37 UTC 1 year ago Edited:  January 28 2014, 17:19:04 UTC

Yup, I'm thinking primordial ooze, as though we are oily because we've just climbed out of it.


January 28 2014, 17:23:36 UTC 1 year ago

That's it! I had forgotten that term, ha ha...I am a native English speaker but forgetful.


January 28 2014, 17:59:03 UTC 1 year ago

Yeah, that occurred to me as well.


January 28 2014, 17:17:49 UTC 1 year ago

Hm, I haven't thought of that possibility before. Thanks for your comment!


January 28 2014, 22:09:00 UTC 1 year ago

This was the first thing that came to mind for me.