greas·y (grēsē, -zē)
adj. greas·i·er, greas·i·est
1. Coated or soiled with grease.
2. Containing grease, especially too much grease: a greasy hamburger.
3. Suggestive of grease in slickness or slipperiness: a greasy character.
Our Living Language One of our most notable regional distinctions is the "greasy-greazy" line. It is famous among scholars of American dialects for marking a clear division between major dialect regions of the United States. In the North and West, greasy is pronounced with an (s) sound; in the Midland dialect region and the South, it is pronounced with a (z). According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, the "greazy" region extends from the Deep South to southern parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and all of Missouri, Texas, and New Mexico. The verb grease also follows this pattern, although not the noun grease, which is pronounced with an (s) sound everywhere. A few Southerners also use (z) in blouse. The (z) pronunciation is so stable and so characteristic of Southern dialects that dialect scholars use it to trace the migration of Southern speakers into other dialect areas, such as Colorado, Oregon, and California.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.