burn the midnight oil, to

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burn the midnight oil

To stay up late working on a project or task. The phrase refers to the outdated practice of using an oil lamp. Denise has been burning the midnight oil trying to finish this report, so she must be exhausted. I'll need to burn the midnight oil to have any chance of finishing this paper before class tomorrow morning.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

burn the midnight oil

Fig. to stay up working, especially studying, late at night. (Alludes to working by the light of an oil lamp late in the night.) I have a big exam tomorrow so I'll be burning the midnight oil tonight. If you burn the midnight oil night after night, you'll probably become ill.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

burn the midnight oil

Stay up late working or studying, as in The semester is almost over and we're all burning the midnight oil before exams. This expression alludes to the oil in oil lamps. [Early 1600s]
See also: burn, midnight, oil
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

burn the midnight oil

If you burn the midnight oil, you stay up very late at night in order to finish a piece of work. He's been burning the midnight oil getting his article written. The truth is, I haven't been sleeping all that much lately. Burning the midnight oil. Note: The image here is of someone working late into the night by the light of an oil lamp.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

burn the midnight oil

read or work late into the night.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

burn the midnight ˈoil

work or study until very late at night: Before my exams, I was burning the midnight oil every night.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

burn the midnight oil

To work or study very late at night.
See also: burn, midnight, oil
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

burn the midnight oil, to

To stay up late, studying or working. This expression, which may well be as old as the first oil lamp, appeared in English in the mid-seventeenth century. It has been traced to a poem by Francis Quarles (“Emblems,” 1635): “Wee spend our midday sweat, or midnight oyle; wee tyre the night in thought; the day in toyle.” A more recent example is found in David Baldacci’s Hour Game (2004): “You don’t want to burn the midnight oil too much; it’s bad for your complexion.”
See also: burn, midnight
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The major motivation to burn the midnight oil is having a sense of achievement, with 35% of those surveyed pointing to that, along with expanding their businesses.
But she refused to burn the midnight oil, rushing home to see daughter Lila Grace on the chimes of 12.
I even managed to burn the midnight oil long enough to stay up and watch his win - and I don't even particularly like Formula 1.
"But with a team of councillors and committed activists who are willing to burn the midnight oil, it is most certainly an achievable goal.
THOUSANDS of Harry Potter lovers are set to burn the midnight oil tonight when the eighth and final movie in the franchise, The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (12A) has its first public screenings from midnight.
But there will be no need for the Scot to burn the midnight oil in his Wilmslowhome again as United roused themselves after a lethargic start to eventually romp home, extending their goal difference advantage over Chelsea to 14 in the process.
'Sunday night is going to be a difficult night and we are going to burn the midnight oil. It will be difficult because we have selection headaches in front of us.'
He said: "It's important that heads understand that we don't expect them to burn the midnight oil preparing policy documents on every aspect of school life for us.
GREGGS the bakers are to burn the midnight oil with the group's first ever late night shop in Birmingham at Paradise Forum.
Some 30 per cent say they have to burn the midnight oil at least twice a week to keep up, according to research by stationers Esselte.
We need to burn the midnight oil even more and work even harder to prevent days like this for our supporters."
The Scots singer has already started work on the band's fourth album and now plans to burn the midnight oil.
"We will only pick people who are 110 per cent fit," said Cotton as he prepared to burn the midnight oil finalising a side to win the series.