ol·​ive | \ ˈä-liv How to pronounce olive (audio) , -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

Noun a sauce made with chopped olives Does the suit come in olive?
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of their leaves are gone, and the ones that remain are drab olive and curling at the edges. Maryn Mckenna, The Atlantic, "Coffee Is Under Attack," 16 Sep. 2020 Aid organizations have long warned about dire conditions in the camp, which had a capacity of just over 2,750 people but was housing more than 12,500 inside and in a spillover tent city that sprang up in an adjacent olive grove. The Christian Science Monitor, "Fires, protests at refugee camp signal wake-up call for Europe," 11 Sep. 2020 At first glance, the bottle reads more like your favorite exfoliating treatment than a hair product: glycolic and lactic acids to slough off dead skin; olive and safflower oils to nourish; spearmint leaf and peppermint oils to invigorate. Karina Hoshikawa, refinery29.com, "Malin+Goetz’s New Scalp Mask Brought My Quarantine Hair Back To Life," 8 Sep. 2020 Black and navy are sold out, but olive is available. Kathy Passero, cleveland, "6 face masks that are antimicrobial for added protection," 12 Sep. 2020 In dramatic night-time scenes, camp inhabitants fled fires that broke out at multiple points and were fanned by gale-force winds, gutting much of the facility and surrounding hillside olive groves. Author: Elena Becatoros, Derek Gatopoulos, Anchorage Daily News, "Fire sweeps through Europe’s largest refugee camp in Greece during coronavirus lockdown," 9 Sep. 2020 Black, olive and natural colorways are all 50% off during the sale. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Score up to 50% off suitcases and carry-ons during Away’s first-ever sale," 9 Sep. 2020 Weixlmann likes to tie the pattern with olive on top and white underneath. Andrew Pegman, Field & Stream, "12 Hot Fly Patterns for Great Lakes Steelhead," 2 Sep. 2020 Everybody seemed to be on sabbatical from something, delighted to spend part of their downtime working in the green-gold olive groves of Puglia. Ben Yagoda, WSJ, "Starved for Italy? Mark Your Calendar for Next Fall’s Harvest Time," 3 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This brand is dedicated to olive skin tones which gives some options to those with different complexions. Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook, "15 Beauty Looks to Wear For New Year's Eve," 9 Dec. 2019 The black, gray, and animal print colors only have a few left, but the pink, olive, and light blue have more in stock. Samantha Matt, USA TODAY, "15 things that are selling out at this year's massive Nordstrom Anniversary Sale," 15 Aug. 2020 Beyond viticulture, DaVero is a fully functioning biodynamic farm — complete with olive groves, fruit orchards, gardens, chickens, sheep and a herd of pigs. Bryce Wiatrak, SFChronicle.com, "DaVero: your destination for Italian-style wines and biodynamic farming," 15 May 2018 Mountain towns that trickle down from and climb up around Taggia are filled with wooden presses worn smooth from years of crushing juicy, spicy olive flesh into submission. Leslie Pariseau, Saveur, "Journey to the Place Where Pesto Was Born," 18 Sep. 2017 One afternoon last winter, Adnan Al Mohamad sat across from me at an Istanbul cafe, wearing a tweed blazer and an oxford shirt embroidered with olive branches. Jenna Scatena, The Atlantic, "The Looting Network," 31 July 2020 Then toss with olive sauce and 1/2 cup cooking water, adding more water if pasta seems dry. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Green Olive Shrimp Pasta," 30 Apr. 2020 Per the press release, Emmerson and her colleagues once excavated a room in which two cesspits filled with animal bones, olive pits and other assorted waste stood alongside a cistern, or tank used for storing drinking and washing water. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Analysis of Pompeii’s Garbage Suggests the Ancient Romans Recycled, Too," 27 Apr. 2020 Others also suggest adding some oil, such as olive or vegetable oil. Christopher Michel, Country Living, "How to Use Your Breadmaker to Get the Best Results," 6 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for olive

Time Traveler

The first known use of olive was in 1600

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Statistics for olive

Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Olive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olive. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for olive


How to pronounce olive (audio)

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 How to pronounce olive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce olive (audio) \

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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