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

This lemony pasta with canned tuna in olive oil, capers, and olives, fits the bill. Claudia Catalano, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: A pasta dish with tuna and olives is ideal hot-weather fare," 8 July 2019 To take advantage of the healthful effects, mix an ounce or two of canned wild salmon with a small handful of baby spinach and a tablespoon of olive tapenade. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "7 Healthy Late-Night Snacks," 3 July 2019 Notable locals: Historian Hubert Howe Bancroft farmed olives and chronicled the crop at Helix Farms. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "La Mesa & Mount Helix: The one-time silent-movie mecca still offers Secret Stairs and a famous climate," 30 June 2019 It was normally painted olive with an anti-reflective coating, but different units soon introduced their own color schemes. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Century-Long Evolution of the U.S. Army Helmet," 27 June 2019 Combine the pasta, greens, veg and olives in a very large bowl. Christian Burno, Dallas News, "New 'real wellness' cookbook encourages body positivity and a healthy relationship with food," 24 June 2019 The location features a salad bar, cafe, olive bar, pizza station, sushi and ramen bar, bulk station and an apothecary with essential oils and herbs. Caroline Glenn, orlandosentinel.com, "Lucky’s Market opens new store in Orlando across from Fashion Square mall," 19 June 2019 My skin falls into the light-medium range, but my undertones are textbook olive; anything too pearly or silver-flecked immediately reads as Chalktown, U.S.A. — not exactly a great look. Karina Hoshikawa, refinery29.com, "This Is The Top-Selling Highlighter In The U.S. — Here Are My Honest Thoughts," 10 June 2019 Even the bloody mary is getting in on the biscuit action with two mini biscuits tucked on a garnish of bacon, pickles and olives. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Biscuit Belly is bringing the fancy biscuit craze to Louisville's NuLu," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The gray-green olive groves cover the hillside, and the Chicagoans climb into tree branches to harvest ripe fruit onto waiting tarps. David Degner, Smithsonian, "Two Tour Guides—One Israeli, One Palestinian—Offer a New Way to See the Holy Land," 9 July 2019 Kate pulled her hair back in a ponytail and wore an olive-green jacket and sweater over a white blouse with a frilly collar, plus black leggings and suede hiking boots. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Will & Kate visit farm country, try their hands at shearing squirming sheep," 11 June 2019 The grounds also include an olive tree grove, fruit trees, a vegetable garden, an outdoor kitchen, a heated pool and a bocce court. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Wine Country Compound Aims to Set a Napa Record," 19 June 2019 Set out from the chapel of Agia Marina, following a trail past ancient stone walls and olive groves to the rocky summit. National Geographic, "Greek Islands Adventure," 12 June 2019 Situated on 250 acres of land, the home boasts two cottages and five apartments with 10 bedrooms total, a pool, a private vineyard, an olive grove, a wine cellar, and majestic views of the Balearic Sea down below. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Michael Douglas Hilariously Narrates His Own Spanish Estate's Real Estate Video," 4 June 2019 Highlights of the home include two large salt-water aquariums, clerestory windows, an olive orchard and a vineyard visible from the great room’s panoramic window, the owner’s corner office, the pool and the terrace. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Peek inside an 8,000-square foot Los Altos home on this Silicon Valley home tour," 4 June 2019 Korbee says that the two best oils for frying eggs are olive and canola. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Make the Perfect Fried Egg Every Time," 8 Apr. 2019 Gigi opted for an olive plaid suit, a shimmery transparent top and black bra, and a Youssef Lahlou hat. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid Wore the Chicest Looks to Marc Jacobs's Wedding," 7 Apr. 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for olive

The first known use of olive was in 1600

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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

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