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

In the Middle Ages, monks would add thyme, basil, and sage to their flower beds to awaken their senses. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "Mugler’s New Perfume Was Inspired by Gardens and Monks," 8 June 2018 Continue planting seeds for tomatoes, eggplants, basil, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, watermelons and other summer edibles. Nan Sterman, latimes.com, "For SoCal gardeners, a June gloom tipsheet," 31 May 2018 Serve sprinkled with parmesan and, if using, torn basil. Drizzle with more oil, if desired. Daniel Neman, charlotteobserver, "Cooking from scratch faces off with semi-homemade | Charlotte Observer," 20 Mar. 2018 Stir in 3 cups of any chopped cooked vegetable, 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, Emmentaler, Gouda or cheddar cheese (or a mixture) and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Susan Nicholson, ajc, "7 Day Menu Planner," 16 Feb. 2018 Add garlic, capers, olives, and torn basil, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the garlic is golden. Daniel Boulud, ELLE Decor, "Marky Ramone's Drum Punk Pasta Recipe," 18 Oct. 2010 Tear the basil into small pieces and stir into the soup. House Beautiful, "Bread, Tomato, Basil, and Cucumber Soup Recipe," 28 Aug. 2010 Air-purifying plants line the walls, and a custom essential oil blend of lemon, basil, and cedarwood wafts through every room. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Inside the New York Wellness Space That Could Be the Future of Primary Care," 30 Jan. 2019 Additional items for sale include basil, summer squash, flowers and possibly melons and lettuce, according to the Center for Land-Based Learning, the group that runs the Urban Farms program. Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "West Sacramento’s Barn to host fresh, local produce sales through September," 12 July 2018

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

16 Mar 2019

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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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