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 Other good view barriers for privacy might include the edible olive, pineapple guava, Simpson stopper, Walter’s viburnum, podocarpus and clumping bamboo. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "Easter lilies will regrow and flower annually," 24 Apr. 2021 Circumference utilizes the olive leaves that would have otherwise been biowaste to carefully (and with a chemical-free method) extract potent actives, then returns the mulch to the farm to be used as compost for a circular production system. Arden Fanning Andrews, Vogue, "2021’s Best New Sustainable Beauty Products Have Circularity in Mind," 22 Apr. 2021 Garnish with a rosemary sprig, as well as one green and one black Cerignola olive. Megan Murphy, Robb Report, "11 Creative Takes on the Gin & Tonic From Some of the World’s Best Bars," 21 Apr. 2021 Redford and Wetle will continue to work their olive, plum, peach and pear trees while living on the farm. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Willamette Valley Wine pioneer announces retirement with vineyard sale," 16 Apr. 2021 Key ingredients include Lactobacillus ferment and Lactobacillus/olive leaf ferment extract. Sarah Han, Allure, "Makeup Artist-Loved Heritage Store Just Got a Major Revamp After 52 Years," 15 Apr. 2021 The Big Little Lies and Undoing star was photographed amid her transformation for the role, wearing light-red, shoulder-length waves (presumably a wig); thin eyebrows; thick lashes; and what looks like a light olive-green suit. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nicole Kidman Just Made Her First Appearance as Lucille Ball," 15 Apr. 2021 At one point, soon after Bilal, her ex-husband’s brother, is released from an Israeli jail, the village gathers to harvest its olive groves. Rozina Ali, The New Yorker, "Rewriting the Story of the Palestinian Radical," 14 Apr. 2021 In addition to the farm, the resort is dotted with lemon, apple, olive, fig, and pomegranate trees. Beck Bamberger, Forbes, "Sublime Spring At Carneros Resort And Spa," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Woods, olive groves, orange orchards, hazelnut plantations and wine estates dot the landscape. Silvia Marchetti, CNN, "Another Italian town is selling houses for one euro," 25 Apr. 2021 In a moody, black-and-white photo, the back of Tuan's arm is seen with olive branches framing his elbow and a dove spanning the back of his forearm. Devon Abelman, Allure, "K-Pop Star Mark Tuan Just Got a Tattoo From Dr. Woo," 23 Apr. 2021 Kale and chicken thighs stand up equally to a braise in olive brine, which suffuses each with deep umami flavor. Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times, "Baked dishes made for sharing," 7 Mar. 2021 This olive wood piece is durable, eye-catching and timeless. Lizzy Briskin, chicagotribune.com, "Best kitchen essentials 2021," 14 Apr. 2021 Ricchiuti’s family — longtime farmers in the region, with olive groves and almond trees — used to sell their agricultural holdings to builders of single-family homes. Liam Dillon Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "The nation’s hottest housing market? Surprise — it’s Fresno," 31 Mar. 2021 Based on customer feedback, the brand expanded the hues to include more cool, warm, neutral, and olive undertones, so there are more chances of finding a color that's just right for your unique skin tone. Christie Calucchia, Southern Living, "This Skincare-Powered Concealer Makes Dark Circles and Blemishes Vanish," 30 Mar. 2021 Even with a swirl of plum, cerulean, and olive hues, somehow, the top maintains that easy-going-feel of a modern-day wardrobe staple. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "Tie-Dye for Minimalists—Shop 10 of Our Favorite Tops," 22 Mar. 2021 Set amid lush greenery and surrounded by olive groves, this is the ideal setting off point for cycling and hiking along trails as well as making the most of the on-site restaurants, bars, sea-view pools and Elixir Spa. Lauren Jade Hill, Forbes, "10 Hot New Hotels Opening In Greece," 17 Mar. 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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Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Olive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olive. Accessed 6 May. 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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