basil

noun
ba·​sil | \ ˈba-zəl How to pronounce basil (audio) , ˈbā-, -səl How to pronounce basil (audio) \

Definition of basil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of several aromatic herbs (genus Ocimum) of the mint family especially : sweet basil
2 : the dried or fresh leaves of a basil used especially as a seasoning

Basil

biographical name
Bas·​il | \ ˈbā-zəl How to pronounce Basil (audio) , ˈba-, -səl\
variants: or Basilius \ bə-​ˈsi-​lē-​əs How to pronounce Basilius (audio) , -​ˈzi-​ \

Definition of Basil (Entry 2 of 2)

Saint circa 329–379 the Great church father; bishop of Caesarea

Examples of basil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Remove the cover on the eggs and sprinkle with basil. BostonGlobe.com, "large plum tomatoes (about ¾ pound)," 17 Sep. 2019 Garnish with basil and edible flowers, and serve immediately. Amber Turpin, The Mercury News, "How to make Bad Animal’s swoon-worthy tomato tarts," 6 Sep. 2019 Season the salad with lemon juice and zest, and garnish with more basil if desired. Adam Sachs, ELLE Decor, "Take Your Lunch to Work in Style with a Portable Japanese-Style Lunch Box," 15 Aug. 2019 Stir oil into onion mixture and spoon over fruit, then sprinkle with basil, feta, and cracked black pepper. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Tomato, Peach & Basil Salad with Italian Sausage," 9 Aug. 2019 Eat as a side dish, add to salads, or toss with spaghetti squash paired with fresh basil. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "The Health Benefits of Eggplants," 8 Aug. 2019 Atop the ricotta goes cherry tomatoes and baby zucchini (with their blossoms) that have been tossed with basil and red wine vinaigrette. Birmingham Magazine, al, "Birmingham City Bite: Chez Fonfon Tartine," 2 Aug. 2019 Serve with chicken and tomatoes and sprinkle with basil. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Seared Chicken with Tomatoes and Fresh Corn Cakes," 19 July 2019 After the bread cools, add to the bowl, along with the duck, cucumbers, basil and mint. Los Angeles Times, "A new take on tomato basil salad," 14 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'basil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of basil

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for basil

Noun

Middle English basyl, basyle, shortening (perhaps by confusion with Middle French basile "basilisk") of Middle French basilic or its source, Medieval Latin basilicon, borrowed from Greek basilikón (for presumed basilikòn phytón "royal plant"), noun derivative from neuter of basilikós "royal" — more at basilica

Note: The word basilikón as a name for a plant or herb is marginally attested in ancient and early post-classical Greek, the usual word for what is presumed to be Ocimum basilicum in Greek being ṓkimon. The identity of a lákhanon basilikón ("royal herb") in the pseudo-Aristotelian De plantis (2nd century b.c.) is uncertain. The lexicon of Hesychius (5th-6th centuries a.d., incorporating much ancient material) glosses ṓkimon as "fragrant herb, called basilikón" ("botánē euṓdēs, tò legómenon basilikón").

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Dictionary Entries near basil

basifixed

basifugal

basify

basil

Basil

Basilan

basilar

Statistics for basil

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for basil

The first known use of basil was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for basil

basil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of basil

: an herb that has a sweet smell and that is used in cooking

basil

noun
ba·​sil | \ ˈba-zəl How to pronounce basil (audio) , ˈbā-\

Kids Definition of basil

: a fragrant mint used in cooking

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More from Merriam-Webster on basil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with basil

Spanish Central: Translation of basil

Nglish: Translation of basil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of basil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about basil

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