burn the midnight oil

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Related to burning the midnight oil: burning the candle at both ends, burnt the midnight oil

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 The phrase refers to the outdated practice of using an oil lamp.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 ?
Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], Nov 24 ( ANI ): Even after the polling for assembly elections is over in the state, some workers of the Congress party are still burning the midnight oil for a strange reason and have pledged to do so till the date of counting.
Sunderland Harriers celebrate their centenary this year and club chairman Kevin Carr has been burning the midnight oil to put together a superb brochure to mark the occasion.
They're great for giving your skin a little boost even if you haven't been burning the midnight oil.
EVEN the most patriotic of Englishmen will not be staying up through the night to see how our curling team get on in the Winter Olympics, but it is surely worth burning the midnight oil to watch our resurgent cricketers in New Zealand, writes Steve Palmer.
Sleep experts have long known that burning the midnight oil can lead to health problems normally associated with smoking or bad diet.
MARATHON man Sean Lanigan was burning the midnight oil in Malvern last night before completing a gruelling 5-4 victory in the Benson and Hedges Snooker Championship.
He has to learn that spending his evening on the phone isn't on - it's anti-social to you, he is abusing your generosity as a father, and he is burning the midnight oil to catch up on his work.
Adidas are burning the midnight oil in their South Africa HQ apparently in an effort to kit out the Lions with fresh gear.
In Jamalpur, an area located in the older part of Ahmedabad, the Muslim artisans are burning the midnight oil to make the ledgers on time for the festival of Diwali.
"Given that the stakes are so high, it comes as no surprise that entrepreneurs are burning the midnight oil to make a success of their business.
"With many small business owners burning the midnight oil to keep their business afloat, they need to make sure that they are getting the most from their suppliers including their business bank and make sure their surplus funds are working as hard as they are."
This city of authors, journos and hacks Burning the midnight oil Unearthing moles, exposing the quacks Bringing their blood to the boil
I'm burning the midnight oil searching for the right players.
They are burning the midnight oil to come up with a new form of words to persuade waverers in France, China and Russia that force will be needed against Saddam Hussein's regime.