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 The rooms look out over the swimming pool, the Adriatic Sea in the distance and fields of olive trees in the foreground. Ann Abel, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 This tiny, discreet village sits high above Lerici and offers magnificent views of the Bay of Poets with nothing in your path except a hill of olive trees. Lilly Graves, Travel + Leisure, 9 Oct. 2021 Friends in Italy showed the Brannens the farmhouse and several acres of olive trees, which soon became the family’s second home and design project. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 The exquisite outdoor landscape has a 50-year-old coastal live oak tree, 60-year-old Manzanilla olive trees, and Brazilian pepper trees. Monica Mercuri, House Beautiful, 31 Aug. 2021 Beyond the urban chatter of Chania, hillside villages, pink sands, and stands of silver olive trees give way to sudden ravines and soaring peaks. Rachel Howard, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Aug. 2021 The garden behind Anne Archer and Terry Jastrow’s house, in Brentwood, is filled with olive trees and hummingbirds. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Nearby, a giant bronze pod by the Italian artist and leather goods designer Serena Cancellier dangles from an olive tree branch, exploding with streams of crystal seeds that sparkle in the fading afternoon light. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2021 The early Greeks replaced laurel and olive wreaths with gold versions in increasingly complex styles. New York Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Remove the pan from the oven and add the olives, olive brine and lemon juice. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 Holm oaks and olive groves are scattered throughout the enclave of classic and contemporary homes. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka and olive brine. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, 16 Sep. 2021 Two tiny cabins with glass façades peep out of a silver haze of olive groves. Rachel Howard, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Aug. 2021 River anglers are using spinning tackle and suspending a marabou jig, preferable with black, brown or olive feathers or hair, under a stick float. cleveland, 30 Sep. 2021 People have been pouring olive brine into their cocktail glasses to make dirty martinis for a long time. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Sep. 2021 In this formula, it's paired with olive leaf extract, which helps protect skin from the effects of environmental aggressors. Erica Metzger, Better Homes & Gardens, 9 Sep. 2021 The rustic-modernist result consists of 44 rooms and suites, an open-plan restaurant, a pool, and a wellness center that all face the Mediterranean from a canopy of olive bushes, ancient umbrella pines, and tumbling vines. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, 13 Aug. 2021

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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Learn More About olive

Dictionary Entries Near olive



olive acanthus

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Statistics for olive

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Olive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olive. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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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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