\ˈī-vē \
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

As the Cubs’ hype machine started to rev up, Baez posed for a photograph with teammates Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara near the Wrigley Field ivy in September of 2014. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Sorry White Sox fans, but there's no guarantee your rebuild will turn out like the Cubs'," 10 May 2018 Le Sainte-Elisabeth, a bar that is conveniently located on a street of the same name, has a dramatic outdoor patio where ivy grows several stories high on adjacent buildings and trees provide shade. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "It’s a great time for a summer sojourn to Montreal," 21 June 2018 Elsewhere, Boucheron designer Claire Choisne unveiled a number of necklaces, including ivy and ikebana in yellow gold with diamonds. Vogue, "From Ana Khouri to Tasaki, A Survey of Couture Week’s Coolest Jewels," 9 July 2018 The queen, wearing an electric blue coat and hat trimmed in black fur and holding a nosegay of daffodils, primroses, freesias, rosemary, thyme and ivy leaves, gave each recipient a red and a white purse. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince Philip skips annual pre-Easter service with queen, sparks health worries," 29 Mar. 2018 Lush landscaping surrounds the space and continues onto the home, where ivy coats the stucco exterior. Jack Flemming, latimes.com, "Los Feliz estate owned by former Oprah Winfrey Network head lists with a new look," 26 June 2018 Where once our yard resembled disputed territory on a map — a no man’s land where grass merged into weeds which merged into ivy which merged into (patchy) mulch — now the borders are clear cut, literally. John Kelly, Washington Post, "It’s going to be hard for me to complain about other people’s leaf blowers," 6 May 2018 Foliage like ferns, Hosta leaves and bush ivy frame and add contrast. Devin Alessio, ELLE Decor, "5 Brilliant Flower Arranging Tips And Ideas," 24 Aug. 2016 The ivy that snaked across the bookshelf and over the desk had started out as a miserable thing, cut back by a patient and given to Flaherty as both a prop and a gift: Its puny sprouts were meant to symbolize how ravaged the patient felt. Eric Boodman, STAT, "It’s not ‘all in your head’: When other doctors give up on patients, a boundary-breaking neurologist treats them," 19 June 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for ivy

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ivy

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

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More Definitions for ivy



English Language Learners Definition of ivy

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


\ˈī-vē \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ivy

Spanish Central: Translation of 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

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