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

But consider maintaining pots of your favorite fresh herbs. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Table for 1: For solo diners, cooking at home offers many perks," 12 July 2018 Four Sigmatic is a Finnish company that blends various medicinal mushrooms with coffee, cocoa, tea, and/or various herbs to produce a variety of beverages that supposedly will increase your productivity, energy, immunity, and beauty. Nutrition Diva Monica Reinagel, Scientific American, "Mushroom Coffee: The Science Behind the Trend," 23 June 2018 Wander aimlessly through her garden, running her hands through her herbs? Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Oprah Smokes Pot! (According to Gayle)," 11 May 2018 The kit includes seed pods, plant food and a grow light, and no soil is needed to start growing your own herbs, which include Genovese basil, Thai basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, and mint. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Today's Best Deals: A Great Dyson Vacuum at Half Price," 19 Apr. 2018 One of the biggest is the return of my backyard herbs. Becky Krystal, charlotteobserver, "Fresh herbs will be here soon: Here’s how to make the best of them | Charlotte Observer," 17 Apr. 2018 Just muddle a few pieces of fruit, your herb of choice, and a pinch of sugar in the bottom of a glass. Redbook, "This Is Summer in a Glass," 23 July 2013 High-heat methods will burn sensitive ingredients, like sugar, fresh herbs and minced garlic. Justin Ward, San Antonio Express-News, "Does marinating meat overnight really make a difference?," 3 July 2018 Transfer the onions to a bowl, sprinkle with olive oil and herbs. Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Smoky, grilled charred onions make everything beside them on the plate come to life," 3 July 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

8 Nov 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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