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The definition is under the entry "sheep dip" in The Oxford American College Dictionary

a liquid preparation for cleansing sheep of parasites or preserving their wool

How to understand "liquid preparation"?

Does it mean "washing", "daubing" or "soaking"?

What's more, does "preparation" indicate that the "sheeep dip" happens before the "cleansing" or "preserving"?

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From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/preparation?s=t :

preparation noun

(5) something prepared, manufactured, or compounded: a special preparation for sunbathers.

Thus, sheep dip is a liquid that is prepared for the purpose of cleansing sheep.

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  • But I am afraid "liquid preparation" is not the same thing as "liquid" in a strict sense, is it? I don't think the word "sheep dip" refers to a kind of liquid according to the very definition.
    – dennylv
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 3:56
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    @dennylv- Actually it is exactly a liquid that the sheep are immersed up the neck in. See the picture here: rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2006/December/01120602.asp
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 4:15
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    I still can't understand why it is "a liquid preparation" in the definition rather than just "a liquid", or, "a liquid prepared"? Wait, wait, does "preparation" mean a substance made up in advance? I think I have got the meaning. A "preparation" is kind of a made-up lotion or medicinal liquid, isn't it?
    – dennylv
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 4:47
  • Yes, you've got it.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 5:44

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