Posted by Smokey Stover on November 29, 2007
In Reply to: Oil rag posted by Anna Sanders on November 28, 2007
: I would like to know the origin of "he/she lives on the smell of an oil rag".
In days gone by, people with wooden floors sometimes used to oil them, using rags to rub in the oil. I don't know if this is the meaning in the phrase. The rag was more often called an oily rag, I think, but perhaps when used with so specific a purpose it was called an oil rag. Perhaps other things were oiled up that I never found out about.