fo·​liage | \ ˈfō-lē-ij How to pronounce foliage (audio) also -lyij; nonstandard ˈfō-lij, nonstandard ˈfȯi-lij How to pronounce foliage (audio) \

Definition of foliage

1 : a representation of leaves, flowers, and branches for architectural ornamentation The doorframe was decorated with beautifully carved foliage.
2 : the aggregate of leaves of one or more plants trees with colorful autumn foliage
3 : a cluster of leaves, flowers, and branches A wreath of foliage adorned her front door.

Other Words from foliage

foliaged \ ˈfō-​lē-​ijd How to pronounce foliage (audio) also  -​lyijd ; nonstandard  ˈfō-​lijd , nonstandard  ˈfȯi-​ \ adjective

How do you pronounce foliage?: Usage Guide

The disyllabic pronunciation \ˈfō-lij\ is very common. Some commentators insist that foliage requires a trisyllabic pronunciation because of its spelling, but words of a similar pattern such as carriage and marriage do not fall under their prescription. The pronunciation \ˈfȯi-lij\ is disapproved because it suggests the transposition of the l and i in the spelling. It is not as common as \ˈfō-lij\ and may be associated with the nonstandard spelling foilage.

How Do You Pronounce foliage?

The English language has its share of common but disputed usages. One such example is the pronunciation of foliage as FOH-lij or, even more irksome to some, FOY-lij. The first of these two pronunciations, though frequently disparaged, is consistent with the pronunciation of the -iage ending in marriage and carriage, as well the less common but widely accepted pronunciation of verbiage as VER-bij. The second of these is often more fiercely denounced, in part because of its association with the nonstandard spelling foilage. Oddly enough, foliage traces back to Middle French foille ("leaf"), which is also the source of the English word foil (as in "aluminum foil"). When adopted by Middle English speakers, foil originally meant "leaf."

Examples of foliage in a Sentence

a tree with pretty foliage the thick green foliage of the jungle
Recent Examples on the Web However, one reason for too much foliage and few flowers is the wrong soil nutrients. oregonlive, 24 Oct. 2020 As recently as the 1990s, 80 percent of cut flowers and foliage sold in America was grown on U.S. soil. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 As with live houseplants, interest in growing flowers and foliage to use in floral arrangements rose during the COVID-19 era, as people cooped up at home sought ways to bring nature’s beauty indoors. oregonlive, 15 Apr. 2022 Snapdragon blooms are on pause as the flowers and upper foliage were frozen back in mid-February. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 25 Feb. 2022 Flowers, foliage, fruit, and seed heads all lend color and interest to the fall garden. Thad Orr, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Nov. 2021 Like its elder forebear, Manhattan West retail space has a central, outdoor walkway that is alternately decorated with flowers, foliage, lighting and statuary. Richard Kestenbaum, Forbes, 20 Oct. 2021 There are idyllic coastal towns with whitewashed buildings, brilliantly colored flowers, lush foliage, and, of course, the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Kristen Shirley, Travel + Leisure, 13 Aug. 2021 On planting day, public works employees haul the flowers and foliage on a flatbed truck around as the gardeners move from spot to spot. Kimberly Fornek,, 27 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foliage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of foliage

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foliage

Middle French fuellage, from foille leaf — more at foil entry 2

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The first known use of foliage was in 1598

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Foliage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for foliage


fo·​li·​age | \ ˈfō-lē-ij How to pronounce foliage (audio) \

Kids Definition of foliage

: the leaves of a plant

More from Merriam-Webster on foliage

Nglish: Translation of foliage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foliage for Arabic Speakers


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