[baz-uhl, bas-, bey-zuhl, -suhl]
any of several aromatic herbs belonging to the genus Ocimum, of the mint family, as O. basilicum (sweet basil) having purplish-green ovate leaves used in cooking.

1400–50; late Middle English basile < Middle French < Late Latin basilicum < Greek basilikón, neuter of basilikós royal. See basilic Unabridged


[baz-uhl, bas-, bey-zuhl, -suhl]
Saint. Also, Basilius, ("the Great") a.d. 329?–379, bishop of Caesarea in Asia Minor (brother of Saint Gregory of Nyssa).
a male given name: from a Greek word meaning “royal.” Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
basil (ˈbæzəl)
1.  Also called: sweet basil a Eurasian plant, Ocimum basilicum, having spikes of small white flowers and aromatic leaves used as herbs for seasoning: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
2.  Also called: wild basil a European plant, Satureja vulgaris (or Clinopodium vulgare), with dense clusters of small pink or whitish flowers: family Lamiaceae
3.  basil-thyme a European plant, Acinos arvensis, having clusters of small violet-and-white flowers: family Lamiaceae
[C15: from Old French basile, from Late Latin basilicum, from Greek basilikon, from basilikos royal, from basileus king]

Basil (ˈbæzəl)
Saint, called the Great, ?329--379 ad, Greek patriarch: an opponent of Arianism and one of the founders of monasticism. Feast day: Jan 2, June 14, or Jan 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"aromatic shrubby plant," early 15c., from O.Fr. basile (15c., Mod.Fr. basilic), from M.L. basilicum, from Gk. basilikon (phyton) "royal (plant)," from basileus "king" (see Basil). So called, probably, because it was believed to have been used in making royal perfumes. In
Latin, confused with basiliscus (see basilisk) because it was supposed to be an antidote to the basilisk's venom.

masc. proper name, from L. Basilius, from Gk. Basileios "kingly, royal," from basileus "king," of unknown origin, possibly from a language of Asia Minor (cf. Lydian battos "king").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Basil has a bright, complex, and slightly anise flavor that enhances a wide
  array of summer fruits and vegetables.
Plant a few extra basil plants this summer and get a head start on your holiday
  gift needs.
Plant these six basil varieties together for delicious harvest all summer.
More than half the basil in my garden ends up in bouquets.
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