al·​li·​um | \ ˈa-lē-əm How to pronounce allium (audio) \

Definition of allium

: any of a large genus (Allium) of bulbous herbs of the lily family including the onion, garlic, chive, leek, and shallot

Examples of allium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Keeping the cloves whole also means that the sulfurous compounds in a garlic clove (or any allium) remain intact. New York Times, "These Leeks Are Anything but Humble," 16 Apr. 2021 Bred by allium expert Mark McDonough, this is a clump-forming hybrid that grows as a tight bundle of strappy leaves and bursts with bright purple flower heads from mid-to-late summer. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "These 6 plants were just named some of the best in the US. Here's how to grow them," 16 Apr. 2021 Give onions — and other members of the allium family such as garlic, scallions, leeks, shallots, and chives — credit where credit is due. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "5 Health Benefits of Onions Worth Shedding a Couple Tears For," 21 Jan. 2021 Another review of 16 studies also linked high-allium consumption with a lower risk of colon cancer. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "5 Health Benefits of Onions Worth Shedding a Couple Tears For," 21 Jan. 2021 Scallions are also great uncooked and have a fresh allium flavor. Washington Post, "Onions, shallots, scallions and leeks are mostly interchangeable in recipes. Here’s how to use what you have.," 23 Nov. 2020 On the latest episode of Martha Knows Best, which airs Wednesday, November 4 at 8:00pm ET/PT on HGTV, Stewart is working with her head gardener Ryan McCallister to plant allium and daffodils. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "“Good Bones” Star Karen Laine Jokes She’s Somehow Related to Martha Stewart During Virtual Gardening Session," 2 Nov. 2020 The low-and-slow roasting method captures the essence of the allium without the pungent odor and sharp bite. Popular Science, "There’s a science to food pairing, and you can learn it here," 22 Oct. 2020 Onions Onions, along with other allium family members (i.e. garlic, leeks, and scallions) are rich in prebiotics, which are carbohydrates that serve as food for probiotics. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "8 of the Best Foods to Eat for a Healthy Gut (Plus 4 to Avoid), According to Experts," 13 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allium.' 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 allium

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for allium

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.

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Last Updated

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for allium


al·​li·​um | \ ˈal-ē-əm How to pronounce allium (audio) \

Medical Definition of allium

1 capitalized : a genus of bulbous herbs (as an onion, garlic, or leek) of the lily family distinguished by a characteristic odor, sheathing, mostly basal leaves, and clusters of usually white, blue, purple, pink, or red flowers
2a : a plant of the genus Allium
b : the bulb of garlic formerly used in medicine especially as an expectorant and rubefacient

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