Etymology
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lubricate (v.)

1620s, "make slippery or smooth" (especially by the application of an oil), from Latin lubricatus, past participle of lubricare "to make slippery or smooth," from lubricus "slippery; easily moved, sliding, gliding;" figuratively "uncertain, hazardous, dangerous; seductive," from suffixed form of PIE root *sleubh- "to slip, slide." Related: Lubricated; lubricating. Earlier verb was lubrify (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin lubrificare.

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lube 
1934, colloquial shortening of lubrication (n.); as a verb, short for lubricate, by 1961.
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lubrication (n.)
1640s, "act of lubricating," noun of action from lubricate (v.). Earlier was lubrifaction (1540s). Lubrification is from 1690s.
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*sleubh- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to slide, slip." 

It forms all or part of: cowslip; lubric; lubricant; lubricate; lubricity; lubricous; sleeve; slip (n.3) "potter's clay;" sloop; slop (n.1) "semiliquid refuse;" slop (n.2) "loose outer garment;" sloven.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin lubricus "slippery, slimy, smooth," lubricare "make slippery or smooth;" Middle Dutch slupen "to glide;" Gothic sliupan "to creep, slide;" Old English slyppe "dung."

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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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grease (v.)
mid-14c., "smear, lubricate, or anoint with grease or fat," from grease (n.). Sense of "ply with bribe or protection money" is 1520s, from notion of grease the wheels "make things run smoothly" (mid-15c.). To grease (someone's) palm is from 1580s. Expression greased lightning, representing something that goes very fast, is American English, by 1832.
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