The phrase refers to the outdated practice of using an oil lamp.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. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.What happens if you burn the Midnight Oil?
If you burn the midnight oil night after night, you'll probably become ill. See also: burn, 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.Who wrote 'the Midnight Oil'?
The first person known to have referred to 'the midnight oil' in print was the English author Francis Quarles wrote in Emblemes, 1635: Wee tyre the night in thought; the day in toyle.