Etymology
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ointment (n.)

"unctuous medicinal salve for external application," late 13c., oynement, from Old French oignement "ointment, salve, unguent," from Vulgar Latin *unguimentum, from Latin unguentum (see unguent). The first -t- emerged early 14c. in English, from Old French, which got it by influence of oint, past participle of the verb oindre "to anoint."

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unguent (n.)
"ointment," early 15c., from Latin unguentem "ointment," from stem of unguere "to anoint or smear with ointment," from PIE root *ongw- "to salve, anoint" (source also of Sanskrit anakti "anoints, smears," Armenian aucanem "I anoint," Old Prussian anctan "butter," Old High German ancho, German anke "butter," Old Irish imb, Welsh ymenyn "butter").
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pomade (n.)

1560s, "a perfumed ointment, especially as used for the scalp and in dressing the hair," from French pommade "an ointment" (16c.), from Italian pomata, from pomo "apple," from Latin pomum "fruit; apple" (see Pomona). So called because the original ointment recipe contained mashed apples. It is attested late 14c. as "a kind if cider or other drink made from apples."

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magma (n.)

mid-15c., "dregs, any crude mixture of organic matter," from Latin magma "dregs of an ointment," from Greek magma "thick unguent, ointment," from root of massein "to knead, mold," from PIE root *mag- "to knead, fashion, fit." Geological meaning "molten or semi-molten rock" is by 1859. Related: Magmatic.

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salve (n.)

"medicinal ointment or adhesive preparation for external use on wounds and sores," Old English sealf "healing ointment," from West Germanic *salbo- "oily substance" (source also of Old Saxon salba, Middle Dutch salve, Dutch zalf, Old High German salba, German salbe "ointment"), from PIE *solpa-, from root *selp- "fat, butter" (source also of Greek elpos "fat, oil," Albanian gjalpë "butter," Sanskrit sarpis "melted butter"). Beekes, however, sees a Pre-Greek word.

The figurative sense of "something to soothe" wounded pride, etc. is from 1736; earlier figurative use was as "a spiritual or religious remedy" (12c.).

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oil (v.)

"to smear or rub with oil or ointment," mid-15c., oilen, from oil (n.). Later especially "to lubricate (machinery)." Related: Oiled; oiling. An Old English verb in this sense was besmyrian.

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liniment (n.)
"oily liquid for external application," early 15c., a term in medicine, from Late Latin linimentum "a soft ointment," from Latin linire, collateral form of earlier linere "to daub, smear," from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (see slime (n.)).
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chrism (n.)

"oil mingled with balm, a sacred ointment consecrated and used in Church rites," late Old English chrisma, from Church Latin chrisma, from Greek khrisma "an unguent, anointing, unction," from khriein "to anoint," from PIE root *ghrei- "to rub." Chrisom "baptismal robe," is a c. 1200 variant of this. Related: Chrismal; chrismatory.

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smear (v.)

Old English smerian, smierwan "to anoint or rub with grease, oil, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *smerwjan "to spread grease on" (source also of Old Norse smyrja "to anoint, rub with ointment," Danish smøre, Swedish smörja, Dutch smeren, Old High German smirwen "apply salve, smear," German schmieren "to smear;" Old Norse smör "butter"), from PIE *smeru- "grease" (source also of Greek myron "unguent, balsam," Old Irish smi(u)r "marrow," Old English smeoru "fat, grease, ointment, tallow, lard, suet," Lithuanian smarsas "fat").

Figurative sense of "assault a public reputation" is by 1835; especially "dishonor or besmirch with unsubstantiated charges." Related: Smeared; smearing. Smear-word, one used regardless of its literal meaning but invested with invective, is from 1938.

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salve (v.1)

"apply medicinal or sacramental ointment to," Middle English salven, from Old English sealfian "anoint (a wound) with salve," from Proto-Germanic *salbojanan (source also of Dutch zalven, Old Frisian salva, German salben, Gothic salbon "to anoint"), from the root of salve (n.).

Figurative use is by late 12c. in reference to sin or vice; the non-religious sense of "to help, remedy, atone for" is by 1570s. Related: Salved; salving.

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