noun fo·liage \ˈfō-lē-ij also -lyij; ÷ˈfō-lij, ÷ˈfȯi-lij\

Definition of foliage

  1. 1 :  a representation of leaves, flowers, and branches for architectural ornamentation The doorframe was decorated with beautifully carved foliage.

  2. 2 :  the aggregate of leaves of one or more plants trees with colorful autumn foliage

  3. 3 :  a cluster of leaves, flowers, and branches A wreath of foliage adorned her front door.


play \ˈfō-lē-ijd also -lyijd; ÷ˈfō-lijd, ÷ˈfȯi-\ adjective

foliage was our Word of the Day on 02/02/2016. Hear the podcast!

How do you pronounce foliage?

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.

Examples of foliage in a sentence

  1. a tree with pretty foliage

  2. the thick green foliage of the jungle

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of foliage

Middle French fuellage, from foille leaf — more at foil

First Known Use: 1598

FOLIAGE Defined for English Language Learners


noun fo·liage \ˈfō-lē-ij also -lyij; ÷ˈfō-lij, ÷ˈfȯi-lij\

Definition of foliage for English Language Learners

  • : the leaves of a plant or of many plants

FOLIAGE Defined for Kids


noun fo·li·age \ˈfō-lē-ij\

Definition of foliage for Students

  1. :  the leaves of a plant

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up foliage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trip made at another's expense

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.