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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

secretion of the sebaceous glands, 1728, from medical use of Latin sebum "sebum, suet, grease," probably related to sapo "soap" (see soap (n.)).


n. (context physiology English) A thick oily substance, secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin, that consists of fat, keratin and cellular debris.


n. the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands; with perspiration it moistens and protects the skin

Usage examples of "sebum".

The foreigners sit in his parlor, hissing over him, leaving offensive films of sebum on everything they touch, trying to see him through this phase, clearly impatient with what they feel are the tastes of a loafer and vulgarian.

The mucous membranes may be affected, and the secretion of both sweat and sebum is diminished in proportion to the degree of the affection, and may be quite absent.

Eric pointed out a plug of sebum and cell debris on his lower abdomen, a blackhead, slightly sinister.