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

And keep in mind that the two herbs that marry perfectly with most any type of sweet melon are mint and basil. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: How to select (and utilize) melon," 2 July 2019 An uncooked sauce of tomatoes, basil, garlic, and almonds comes together quickly in a food processor for our Sicilian Trapanese Pesto. Christopher Kimball, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: Three light and easy pasta dishes for summer," 2 July 2019 Green Goddess Dressing Flaky sea salt Freshly ground black pepper To make the dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, basil, chives, tarragon, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Peach and avocado salad from new cookbook," 2 July 2019 The researchers collected thousands of pizza photos from Instagram, then had workers from Amazon's Mechanical Turk service label ingredients such as tomatoes, olives, basil, cheese, pepperoni, peppers, and a few types of sauce. Rachel Metz, CNN, "AI can learn how a pizza is assembled. Here's why that matters," 30 June 2019 Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme. 6. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "July in the Garden," 28 June 2019 To make the dressing, add the basil, nuts, remaining 1/2 cup oil, water, lemon juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to a powerful blender. Christian Burno, Dallas News, "New 'real wellness' cookbook encourages body positivity and a healthy relationship with food," 24 June 2019 Diners can’t go wrong with any sandwich (including prosciutto, salami or vegetarian options such as mozzarella with eggplant or tomato) on any focaccia (plain, garlic with rosemary, tomato with basil, artichoke with olive). Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Publix subs are good (but not with chicken tenders). These are better. Our critic rates local sub shops.," 13 June 2019 Try the Mediterranean restaurant’s frozen apricot version with rose wine, white rum, fruit puree and mint and basil. Josie Sexton, The Know, "10 frozen treats to try around Denver this summer," 3 June 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

6 Jul 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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