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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Something about their hemispherical shape and sumptuous cushions conjures up an image of a Art Deco socialite in her Park Avenue apartment, swirling the olive in her 5th martini. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The 8 Most Inspiring Objects From Design Miami," 14 Dec. 2018 For some reason caponata, the luxurious olive and caper studded appetizer of fried eggplant, was a ubiquitous accompaniment to Scotch and soda in Silver Lake in the 1960s. Evan Kleiman, latimes.com, "Cucina Italiana: The joy of eggplant. Try making a timbale," 5 July 2018 Turn off heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water and a pinch of salt. Yotam Ottolenghi, sacbee, "Salmon – want it easy, or want it epic?," 5 June 2018 The wall of this type of cyst is thicker than most, more like the consistency of an olive or the outside of a Baby Bell cheese. Kelsey Castañon, refinery29.com, "Dr. Pimple Popper Has A New Area She Loves To Pop," 16 Mar. 2018 Another of his early works was a device designed to fish an olive out of a jar, a normally simple task that Goldberg turned into 12 complicated steps. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, "The work of Rube Goldberg — artist, inventor, adjective — on display in SF," 15 Mar. 2018 Add the olives, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and orange rind. Jill Gibson, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: A rich beef stew from Provence is simmered with red wine, olives, and orange," 12 Mar. 2018 If this combination wasn’t odd enough, its garnish of a lemon twist and an olive surely puts it over the top. Kevin Hopper, idahostatesman, "The Irish Cocktail is a more complex way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day | Idaho Statesman," 6 Mar. 2018 Add the chicken, nestling it among the olives and prunes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella," 15 Nov. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But there's something about this dark chocolate shade that looks striking and moody against her green eyes and olive skin tone. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Emma Stone Just Swapped Her Signature Red Hair for a Totally New Look," 22 Jan. 2019 The voluminous strapless number consisted of a blush pink bustier, olive sash at the waist, and silver full skirt. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Swedish Princesses Showed Off Epic Royal Style at the Nobel Prize Ceremony," 10 Dec. 2018 Photo: Dylan Gordon for The Wall Street Journal Roberta Jaffe, who with her husband, Steve Gliessman, runs a small family vineyard and olive orchard nearby, is concerned warming weather is already making water more scarce and valuable. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath," 10 Dec. 2018 The Duchess first appeared yesterday sporting an olive trench coat from Club Monaco, black jeans, and suede booties from Stuart Weitzman. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears Back-to-Back Casual Outfits on the Royal Tour in New Zealand," 29 Oct. 2018 Shade 16 was a perfect match for my summer skin, not too yellow or blue underneath and the right balance for my olive tone. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Beautyblender Is Launching Foundation, and We Tried It," 19 July 2018 Conversely, women with golden or olive skin have a tougher time finding one that's flattering. 2. Alanna Greco, Marie Claire, "How to Find the Best Red Hair Color for You," 2 Jan. 2016 After the service, families of the dead planned to plant an olive tree on the cathedral grounds before a national minute of silence at 4:30 p.m. The words #LondonUnited were due to be projected onto the bridge late Sunday. Jill Lawless, chicagotribune.com, "U.K. remembers London Bridge attack victims on 1st anniversary," 3 June 2018 Those villas—de facto urban estates marked by high stone walls and undulating olive groves—typically combine rustic grandeur with easy access to the city proper. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In a Struggling Italy, Florence Homes Enjoy a New Renaissance," 28 Nov. 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

21 Mar 2019

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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 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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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 boil down or concentrate

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