ol·​ive | \ˈä-liv, -ləv\

Definition of olive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a Mediterranean evergreen tree (Olea europaea of the family Oleaceae, the olive family) cultivated for its drupaceous fruit that is an important food and source of oil also : the fruit

b : any of various shrubs and trees resembling the olive

2 : any of several colors resembling that of the unripe fruit of the olive tree that are yellowish green

3 : an oval eminence on each ventrolateral aspect of the medulla oblongata



Definition of olive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of the color olive or olive green

2 : approaching olive in color or complexion

Examples of olive in a Sentence


a sauce made with chopped olives Does the suit come in olive?

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

En route to the brand’s Midtown Manhattan offices today for a final fitting, the model ignored the head-to-toe beige trend seen on other catwalks of late and went instead for head-to-toe olive—a different form of fall neutral. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Rejects the Beige Trend for a New Fall Neutral," 7 Nov. 2018 This big red shows off layers of plum, blackberry, Bing cherry and black olive. 18. Andy Perdue, The Seattle Times, "DeLille Cellars’ 2015 Harrison Hill is Andy Perdue’s Wine of the Year," 26 Oct. 2018 The day that Affleck headed to rehab, Sexton was snapped on the beaches of Malibu rocking an olive-green bikini and enjoying a relaxing a day in the sun. Fox News, "Ben Affleck's rumored gal pal Shauna Sexton reportedly visits star upon his return to rehab," 2 Oct. 2018 For Prince Louis' christening, the duchess wore an olive Ralph Lauren dress with a matching fascinator. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "The Outfit Meghan Markle Might Wear to Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding," 2 Oct. 2018 Shiny black tables are sandwiched between olive-green banquettes and deep-seated gray velvet chairs. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Dazzling wine bar draws inspiration from Art Deco architecture," 20 Aug. 2018 After the cutting of their ivory tiered cake decorated with olive leaves, the DJ—plus a late-night crepe stand—kept guests dancing until 6am. John Dolan, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Couple Didn't Believe in Love at First Sight–Until It Happened to Them," 6 Aug. 2018 Offset the salt with a drizzle of honey and a few drops of lemon juice and pair it with mint leaves on a platter with olives. Sally Pasley Vargas, BostonGlobe.com, "Prepare several mezze plates for this rehearsal dinner, which won’t cost a crazy amount of money," 4 June 2018 Lightly chewy tannins gird the savory core of this wine, packed with olive, graphite and tobacco flavors. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tasting Notes: Fort Ross-Seaview and the anti-California Cabernets," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Markle went with a monochromatic look, sticking with an olive-green color palette for her base layer and a cream coat up top to visit Edes House. Ana Colón, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Loves & Other Stories As Much As You Do," 3 Oct. 2018 Guests can enjoy sweeping views of the olive groves, vineyards, and mountains during their time at the California-meets-South of France escape. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "8 of the Most Beautiful Hotel Gardens in North America," 2 Oct. 2018 For the marathon event in 2013, Kate went for a more laidback look with an olive blazer, printed shirt, and jeans. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Comparing Kate Middleton's First Back-to-Work Outfits After the Birth of Each Child," 2 Oct. 2018 Making a rare video appearance in late August, HTS leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani — wearing an olive-green military uniform — vowed to fight Assad's forces and said Turkish observation points were no protection. Fox News, "Last stand: Syria's rebel Idlib prepares for a losing battle," 16 Sep. 2018 Hundreds of feet below, crags jutted through an olive-green haze. Eric Kester, Popular Mechanics, "What Virtual Reality Needs Now Is This Immersive Playground With Wind Machines and Smoke," 10 May 2016 Most foundations for darker skin complexions only include golden or red undertones, but Flesh carries both of those as well as neutral and olive undertones for darker skin complexions, which is amazing! Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "5 Foundations Dark-Skinned Beauty Bloggers Love," 17 Aug. 2018 Now 131 North St, Healdsburg; 707-723-4646 Where to Eat and Drink Set into a hillside overlooking a 33-acre olive grove, the bar terrace at this 35-year-old Relais & Châteaux resort is one of the most pleasant places around to imbibe. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California," 9 July 2018 The olive jar was 0.76 of a pound and the jam jar was 0.48 of a pound. Victoria Adams Fogg, Washington Post, "I tried reducing my trash. You can, too. Start by examining it.," 7 July 2018

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


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1657, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for olive


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin oliva, from Greek elaia

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Statistics for olive

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for olive

The first known use of olive was in 1600

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More Definitions for olive



English Language Learners Definition of olive

: a small, egg-shaped black or green fruit that is used as food or for making oil

: a tree on which olives grow

: a yellowish-green color


ol·​ive | \ˈä-liv \

Kids Definition of olive

1 : the oily fruit of an evergreen tree that is eaten both ripe and unripe and is the source of an edible oil ( olive oil )

2 : a yellowish green color


ol·​ive | \ˈäl-iv, -əv \

Medical Definition of olive 

1 : an Old World evergreen tree (Olea europaea of the family Oleaceae, the olive family) cultivated for its drupaceous fruit that is an important food and source of oil also : the fruit

2 : an oval eminence on each ventrolateral aspect of the medulla oblongata that contains the inferior olive of the same side

called also olivary body

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More from Merriam-Webster on olive

Spanish Central: Translation of olive

Nglish: Translation of olive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of olive for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about olive

Comments on olive

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


to enclose within walls

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