Definition of holly
1 : any of a genus (Ilex of the family Aquifoliaceae, the holly family) of trees and shrubs; especially : either of two (I. opaca of the eastern U.S. and I. aquifolium of Eurasia) with spiny-margined evergreen leaves and usually red berries often used for Christmas decorations
2 : the foliage or branches of the holly
Recent Examples of holly from the Web
Savannah hollies, Japanese magnolias and Muskogee crape myrtles have already been put into the ground at various points, and the city is now waiting on vitex trees to arrive from Texas, Mayor Donald Villere said Monday (July 3).
Villere said the city bought 62 Savannah hollies, 25 vitex, 19 Japanese magnolias and 46 Muskogee crape myrtles.
Be sure to include flowering trees, such as native magnolias, hollies, American fringe tree, redbud, black cherry and American persimmon.
Forcing the spike of an unlit firework into the cold, dry ground. Admiring the frost on the holly berries, en route to school.
There are more than 16,000 plants there and a diversity of trees, including black and white oaks, Japanese hollies and flowering dogwoods.
The classics are great, but not everyone’s holiday is decked with boughs of holly.
There are many types to choose from, including hollies, boxwoods, rhododendrons, and aspidistra, with more new dwarf varieties being released each season.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of holly
Middle English holin, holly, from Old English holen; akin to Old High German hulis holly, Middle Irish cuilenn
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
HOLLY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of holly for English Language Learners
: a tree or bush with dark green leaves and bright red berries; also : the branches of this plant which are used for decoration especially at Christmas
HOLLY Defined for Kids
Definition of holly for Students
: an evergreen tree or shrub that has shiny leaves with prickly edges and red berries
Medical Definition of holly
—see sea holly
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up holly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).