Definition of basil
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
Recent Examples of basil from the Web
Raw, berry-sized Thai eggplants are snappy, slightly bitter surprises in an earthy green short rib curry, with extra layers of flavor from ginger-like finger root and basil.
Thick tomato slices with mayonnaise, chopped fresh basil, and oregano. Halved lobster with mayonnaise flavored with garlic, paprika, and lemon zest.
Park Forest resident John Franzese buys basil from student Aaliyah Wilson at a Barack Obama School farmers market earlier this month.
Serve shrimp with rice, lettuce, cucumber or carrot, lime wedges, mint or basil, sesame seeds, and reserved marinade for making lettuce cups.
Pesto - a popular pasta sauce made with basil, cheese, and pine nuts - is a local specialty in Genoa.
Boise Co-op Farm Workshop: Columbia Ridge Farm Boise Co-op is hosting a free basil pesto workshop from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at its store at The Village at Meridian, 2350 N. Eagle Road.
A generous bed of leafy greens and bitter frisée were tossed with just the right amount of basil vinaigrette.
The veggie menu includes spring rolls, tofu lettuce wraps, a papaya salad and entrees such as eggplant with spicy basil ($11).
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.
Origin and Etymology of basil
Middle English basyl, basyle, shortening (perhaps by confusion with Medieval French basile “basilisk”) of Medieval 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 ◆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”).
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
BASIL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of basil for English Language Learners
: an herb that has a sweet smell and that is used in cooking
BASIL Defined for Kids
Definition of basil for Students
: a fragrant mint used in cooking
Seen and Heard
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