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 strong winds and cold temperatures will speed up the end of the prime fall foliage season in many locations. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Brrr, it's cold in here," 11 Nov. 2019 Gusts of wind were powerful enough to rattle windows and shake trees shedding fall foliage. New York Times, "With Whipping Winds and Power Down, Californians Flee Fires," 27 Oct. 2019 Summer’s crowds fall by nearly half, wildlife spring into a final frenzy of activity before winter, and colorful fall foliage transforms the landscape for a few brief but brilliant weeks. National Geographic, "See spectacular fall foliage in these national parks," 18 Oct. 2019 Experts say fall foliage is running similarly behind schedule in 2019. Andrea Michelson, Smithsonian, "This Interactive Map Shows Fall Foliage Predictions Across the U.S.," 9 Oct. 2019 The Hoosier National Forest is a great place for fall foliage. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis is enduring record-breaking heat. But here's when cool temperatures arrive.," 24 Sep. 2019 According to The Weather Channel, this year's fall foliage season could be several weeks delayed across the United States. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Experts From The Weather Channel Say This Year's Fall Foliage Season Will Be Delayed," 17 Sep. 2019 East Trail, Lost Maples State Natural Area: Lost Maples State Natural Area is, of course, known for fall foliage. Dale Blasingame, San Antonio Express-News, "The top 6 hikes in Texas state parks," 11 June 2018 Ornamental features should also be considered, such as flowers, attractive berries, brightly colored fall foliage or unusual bark., "Want to add a tree to your yard? Avoid these 4 costly mistakes," 20 Jan. 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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The first known use of foliage was in 1598

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foliage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 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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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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