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.

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Other Words from foliage

foliaged \ ˈfō-​lē-​ijd How to pronounce foliaged (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 This is so the herbicide sticks to the weeds and enters the foliage. Tom Maccubbin,, "When do pineapples ripen?," 24 Oct. 2020 Trees even appear, remarkably, to correlate with lower rates of crime: Academic research in 2001 discovered that apartments with abundant greenery experienced 52 percent less crime than those with less foliage. Clive Thompson, The Atlantic, "The Struggle to Save City Trees," 9 Oct. 2020 Vivosun’s aquaponic tank is great for sprucing up the top of your aquarium with a little foliage. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best fish tanks for every space," 8 Oct. 2020 Right now, deprive yours of water and let the foliage die back. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Give your houseplants some love now, so they can cheer you up all winter," 8 Oct. 2020 This impairs the root system’s ability to grow and take up enough water and nutrients to keep the foliage in good condition. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Caterpillar droppings and reestablishing a new shrub," 8 Oct. 2020 In addition to the fiery foliage, you will be rewarded with views of two waterfalls and glimpses of the area’s many native birds. William Li, Town & Country, "Perfect Long Weekend Destinations Just Outside New York City," 5 Oct. 2020 In the North Woods there are meandering paths, weathered stone stairs and countless, winding pathways through the dense foliage. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, "QAnon, Blood Libel, and the Satanic Panic," 29 Sep. 2020 Dig the tubers carefully, leaving the foliage attached. Dan Gill,, "A time for waiting in the garden: Evaluate caladiums, watch camellias and order bulbs," 23 Sep. 2020

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.

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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

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foliage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for foliage


How to pronounce foliage (audio) How to pronounce foliage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of foliage

: the leaves of a plant or of many plants


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

Kids Definition of foliage

: the leaves of a plant

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