noun fo·liage \ ˈfō-lē-ij also -lyij ; nonstandard ˈfō-lij , nonstandard ˈfȯi-lij \
Updated on: 18 Mar 2018

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.


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

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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

Recent Examples of foliage from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of foliage

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

foliage Synonyms

FOLIAGE Defined for English Language Learners


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

: the leaves of a plant

Seen and Heard

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