foliage

noun
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

The black-and-white photos show that when viewed up close, amid thick foliage along riverbanks, the scenery can be shadowy, lush and even claustrophobic. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga 50 photo shows uncover fresh takes on the recovery of a once combustible river," 30 June 2019 The products work best if they are sprayed on actively growing Bermuda grass foliage. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "How to control weeds in your summer lawn and garden," 28 June 2019 The Alagoas foliage-gleaner, the black-faced honeycreeper, and the cryptic treehunter were declared extinct. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 Mar. 2019 Police found her body at 3:35 a.m the next day, covered by dead foliage off the path near her school. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Suspect in 1986 slaying of 11-year-old Kathleen Flynn remains held on $5 million bail after facing judge," 17 June 2019 The streets are alive with foliage; colorful blooming gardens and cherry and apple trees. National Geographic, "Spend a perfect day in Washington, D.C. with tips from a local dancer," 3 Apr. 2019 Tables were decorated with foliage and accented with exotic tropical fruits such as corozo, granadillas, watermelons, and pitayas. Bruno Rezza, Harper's BAZAAR, "Virginia Ashe & Ian Ross Embraced All Things Tropical For Their Wedding Weekend in Cartagena," 21 May 2019 Some evergreens may be green below the snow line, with the foliage above completely killed. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Why are my evergreens turning brown?," 20 Mar. 2018 Diablo,’ or ninebark, its green-umber foliage a stand-in for the painting’s landscape. Lindsey Taylor, WSJ, "If the ‘Mona Lisa’ Were Made of Flowers...," 7 Aug. 2018

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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Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for foliage

The first known use of foliage was in 1598

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More Definitions for foliage

foliage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of foliage

: the leaves of a plant or of many plants

foliage

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

Kids Definition of foliage

: the leaves of a plant

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More from Merriam-Webster on foliage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foliage

Spanish Central: Translation of foliage

Nglish: Translation of foliage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foliage for Arabic Speakers

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