\ ˈī-vē How to pronounce ivy (audio) \
plural ivies

Definition of ivy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a widely cultivated ornamental climbing or prostrate or sometimes shrubby chiefly Eurasian vine (Hedera helix) of the ginseng family with evergreen leaves, small yellowish flowers, and black berries
2 : any of several climbing plants (such as Virginia creeper) resembling ivy especially : poison ivy
3 often capitalized : an Ivy League college

Definition of ivy (Entry 2 of 2)

Illustration of ivy

Illustration of ivy


ivy 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of ivy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The house, which had stood on the grounds since 1573, was empty when du Maurier first stumbled upon it while taking a walk as a young woman, seeing its shuttered windows and ivy skittering up the walls. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "All the Wrong Reasons to Remake “Rebecca”," 24 Oct. 2020 Five days passed before police finally found the gun, tucked into ivy in an apartment courtyard. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Probation for man who supplied gun in fatal Carlsbad shooting then hid it from police," 7 Oct. 2020 Harper hit his ninth homer of the year in the first, sending the shot well beyond the center field fence into Philly's own green monster of trees and shrubs and ivy creeping up a brick wall. Dan Gelston, Star Tribune, "Nimmo homer in 9th rallies Mets past Phillies 10-6," 17 Sep. 2020 Marwin Gonzalez led off with a double off the center field ivy, snapping a personal 0-for-12 regular-season streak against the Japanese righthander dating back to 2013. La Velle E. Neal Iii, Star Tribune, "Twins wrap-up Chicago road trip in style, beating Cubs 4-0," 20 Sep. 2020 Two pitches later, Jimenez teed off on a fastball, driving it deep into the ivy in center-field to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead. Patrick Rose, Star Tribune, "Grandal hits game-winning HR, White Sox beat Royals 6-5," 28 Aug. 2020 Since April, Tidwell has been organizing volunteers in Takoma Park to cut ivy from trees. Washington Post, "Like a virus, weeds seize any opportunity to spread — and this summer, they’re ferocious," 5 Aug. 2020 Others were complicated with squiggles, lots of stripes and flourishes including ivy, eagles, ducks, mockingbirds, deer, bees and catfish. Emily Wagster Pettus, Star Tribune, "Public ideas for Mississippi flag: Magnolias, stars, beer," 3 Aug. 2020 Certain greens — ferns, palms, and ivy to name a few — also detoxify the air around you, too. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "12 Air Purifying Plants That Will Give Your Home a Breath of Fresh Air," 2 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The actress, who's known for being something of an amateur equestrian, appears to be bending over to give her horse Ivy water through a tiny straw. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "We Have so Many Questions About This Photo of Selma Blair Feeding Her Horse a Juice Box," 21 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ivy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ivy


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1933, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ivy


Middle English, from Old English īfig; akin to Old High German ebah ivy


from the prevalence of ivy-covered buildings on the campuses of older U.S. colleges

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ivy

Time Traveler for ivy

Time Traveler

The first known use of ivy was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ivy

Last Updated

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ivy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ivy. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ivy


How to pronounce ivy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ivy

: a plant that has long stems and that often grows on the outsides of buildings


\ ˈī-vē How to pronounce ivy (audio) \
plural ivies

Kids Definition of ivy

1 : a climbing vine with evergreen leaves and black berries often found growing on buildings
2 : a climbing plant that resembles ivy

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ivy

Nglish: Translation of ivy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ivy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ivy

Comments on ivy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!