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

Any mix of soft herbs can replace some of the parsley; at my house that means a big handful of basil from my jaunty new plant. Christina Chaey, Bon Appétit, "Forget the House Cocktail, I Have a House Dip," 5 July 2019 In a blender, combine 1 cup of the vegetable stock with the tomatoes, the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the basil, and the roasted garlic. Wolfgang Puck, Twin Cities, "Wolfgang Puck: A pasta dish for all seasons," 5 June 2019 The taste of this magic sauce combines the peppery freshness of basil, the tingle of raw garlic, the luxuriousness of olive oil, the savory-umami of Parmesan and the earthiness of pine nuts. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "The perfection of pesto: a public service announcement," 18 July 2018 In pots or in the ground, seeds of basil, dill and cilantro are among the annual herbs that can be sown now for harvest in a few weeks. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Sow seeds now for late-summer edibles," 8 July 2018 These specialty ingredients -- like the sweet flavor of a chocolate stripe tomato or the spicy surprise of cinnamon basil — are the keys to unusual dishes. Judy Buchenot, Naperville Sun, "Suburban Cooks: Gardening provides inspiration," 29 June 2018 This sweet-tart blend of guava, pineapple, mango, tart cherry and lime juices gets a balancing touch of complexity and sophistication with an infusion of basil. Emily Spicer, San Antonio Express-News, "This tropical guava-cherry punch satisfies both teetotalers and partiers," 27 June 2018 Another way to preserve sweet basil is to make pesto of basil, olive oil, parmesan-like cheese and garlic. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Growing and drying herbs in summer is a great way to benefit your culinary world," 8 June 2018 Rubio’s version is a savory blend of basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Chris Ross, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Rubio's brings back chimichurri tacos," 30 Apr. 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

20 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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