To work studiously, especially late into the night.

Etymology:

  • Originally referring to the act of burning oil in lamps for light and safety. The noun midnight oil is attested from mid 17thc.
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He was burning the midnight oil all night to finish his paper.

Submitted on September 01, 2009

Additional definitions for 'burn the midnight oil':

Burn the Midnight OilTo work overnight, work or study till late night
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Bränn midnatts oljan

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    "burn the midnight oil." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 27 May 2022. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/burn-the-midnight-oil_2668>.

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