noun, often attributive
\ˈərb, US also and British usually ˈhərb\

Definition of herb 

1 botany : a seed-producing annual, biennial, or perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season

2 : a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities planted parsley, basil, and rosemary in her herb garden

3 slang : marijuana sense 2

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Other Words from herb

herblike \ˈ(h)ərb-​ˌlīk \ adjective
herby \ˈ(h)ər-​bē \ adjective

Examples of herb in a Sentence

a dish seasoned with chopped fresh herbs rosemary, sage, and other herbs

Recent Examples on the Web

Use pressurized canners for low-acid foods like potatoes, most other vegetables, and meats. • Refrigerate homemade oils infused with garlic or herbs for no longer than 4 days. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "Taco Bell has just issued a warning for its popular salsa con queso.," 25 July 2018 The herb garden will also be an attraction for those interested in edible gardening. Anchorage Daily News, "July is a great time to visit the Alaska Botanical Garden," 11 July 2018 Crushed garlic cloves, slices of ginger or lemongrass, hot chiles or whole sprigs of herbs will flavor the mixture, but then they can be removed before cooking. Justin Ward, San Antonio Express-News, "Does marinating meat overnight really make a difference?," 3 July 2018 Here are a few different categories that might help you, too, settle on what culinary herbs are most useful to plant. Becky Krystal, sacbee, "As you plot to grow herbs, aim for a balance of wants, needs," 29 June 2018 Entering the historic site from busy Muirkirk Road — passing the Montpelier Arts Center to park and following the walkway past the Carriage and Summer Houses and herb garden to the mansion — feels like journeying into the past. Patti Restivo, Howard County Times, "Montpelier Mansion celebrating and fundraising," 22 June 2018 Mengiste turns to walk along a gravel path flanked by beds of fresh herbs and pineapple guava bushes in bloom. Harriot Manley, SFChronicle.com, "Yountville’s Bardessono resort still deeply green — just less vocal about it," 20 June 2018 Schools such as Taste of Okinawa Cooking are presenting trendier takes on traditional dishes and supplements made up of traditional herbs are becoming more popular. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "In the 'land of the immortals': Japan's centenarian pop band," 8 June 2018 Lushly manicured grounds with a fruit orchard and an herb garden lead to a two-story recreational facility that offers twin gyms, a cold plunge, steam room and sauna, that are just steps away from an outdoor pool. Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Brad Grey's Holmby Hills Estate Lists for $77.5 Million," 21 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'herb.' 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 herb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for herb

Middle English herbe, from Anglo-French, from Latin herba

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Statistics for herb

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for herb

The first known use of herb was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for herb



English Language Learners Definition of herb

: a plant or a part of a plant that is used as medicine or to give flavor to food


\ˈərb, ˈhərb\

Kids Definition of herb

1 : a plant with soft stems that die down at the end of the growing season

2 : a plant or plant part used in medicine or in seasoning foods


noun, often attributive
\ˈ(h)ərb \

Medical Definition of herb 

1 : a seed plant that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season

2 : a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities

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More from Merriam-Webster on herb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with herb

Spanish Central: Translation of herb

Nglish: Translation of herb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of herb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about herb

Comments on herb

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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