al·​li·​um ˈa-lē-əm How to pronounce allium (audio)
plural alliums
: any of a large genus (Allium) of bulbous herbs of the amaryllis family that includes the onion, garlic, chive, and leek

Examples of allium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bunnies and deer usually ignore alliums, but pollinators love them. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 7 Sep. 2023 While this makes alliums great companions for most vegetables and herbs, asparagus and alliums just don’t mix. Lauren Landers, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 May 2023 See for yourself in one of these recipes that showcase the versatility of shallots: Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette: A classic use for shallots is finely diced in a vinaigrette, where the vinegar lightly pickles the raw allium. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 24 Aug. 2023 The allium provides that necessary savory flavor, and the chile helps with adding that layer of heat, says Martinez. Ashia Aubourg, SELF, 19 July 2023 All about alliums: Chippewa Garden Club will present an informative presentation on alliums at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 in the Brecksville Human Services Building, 2 Community Drive. Shirley MacFarland, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2023 Try experimenting with alliums and marigolds, which can be tucked in tightly between other vegetables to keep bad bugs at bay. 5. Kristin Guy, Sunset Magazine, 18 July 2023 An allium like garlic, onion, shallots, leeks, or chives Some type of chile, such as serrano, jalapeño, chile pequin, or guajillo These are important bases for all types of salsa, Martinez says. Ashia Aubourg, SELF, 19 July 2023 Herbs and alliums bless the eggy mixture with sweet-savory energy. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 27 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, genus name, going back to Latin ālium, allium "garlic," of uncertain origin

Note: Compared with Latin āla "wing," if the cloves of a garlic head are comparable to wings, though neither the derivational relationship nor the analogy are more than speculative.

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of allium was in 1600

Dictionary Entries Near allium

Cite this Entry

“Allium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


al·​li·​um ˈal-ē-əm How to pronounce allium (audio)
Allium : a genus of bulbous herbs (as an onion, garlic, or leek) of the amaryllis family distinguished by a characteristic odor, sheathing, mostly basal leaves, and clusters of usually white, blue, purple, pink, or red flowers
: a plant of the genus Allium
: the bulb of garlic formerly used in medicine especially as an expectorant and rubefacient
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!