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[al-oh] /ˈæl oʊ/
noun, plural aloes.
any chiefly African shrub belonging to the genus Aloe, of the lily family, certain species of which yield a fiber.
aloes, (used with a singular verb) agalloch.
Origin of aloe
before 950; Middle English alōe, alow, alewen; Old English al(u)we, alewe (compare Old Saxon, Old High German āloê) < Latin aloē < Greek alóē, perhaps < South Asia via Hebrew
Related forms
[al-oh-et-ik] /ˌæl oʊˈɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),


[uh-gal-uh k, ag-uh-lok] /əˈgæl ək, ˈæg əˌlɒk/
the fragrant, resinous wood of an East Indian tree, Aquilaria agallocha, of the mezereum family, used as incense in the Orient.
Also called agallochum
[uh-gal-uh-kuh m] /əˈgæl ə kəm/ (Show IPA),
[ag-uh l-woo d] /ˈæg əlˌwʊd/ (Show IPA),
agilawood, aloes, aloeswood, eaglewood, lignaloes.
1625-35; < Late Latin agallochon < Greek agállochon (altered by influence of agállein to decorate); ultimately of Dravidian orig.; see eaglewood Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for aloes
Historical Examples
  • The bitter substances of aloes dissolved in 800 parts of water, at 59 F., but in a smaller quantity of boiling water.

  • Sleep tranquilly in your lairs amongst the aloes and the cactus!

    Tartarin de Tarascon Alphonse Daudet
  • On the spot where he died he encamped; and caused the body to be embalmed with balsam, myrrh, and aloes.

    Mediaeval Tales Various
  • Foureau made complaints that the pills of aloes gave him hemorrhoids.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet Gustave Flaubert
  • Dr. Taylor says that aloes and colocynth are the basis of Morrisons pills, which in many instances have induced fatal purging.

    Memoranda on Poisons Thomas Hawkes Tanner
  • At the foot are the palms and aloes of the tropics, with the corn, wine, and oil of Italy.

  • The palms, the aloes, the tangled woods about the camp, are black as night; all else is a flood of airy silver.

    Rita Laura E. Richards
  • Even the bitterness of quinine and aloes may be prevented by this means.

  • Or the following may be used instead: aloes, powdered opium, and gum camphor in equal parts; mix.

    Special Report on Diseases of Cattle U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Naples has a touch of the tropics; cacti, aloes, and palm trees, are not of our clime.

    Three Months Abroad Anna Vivanti
British Dictionary definitions for aloes


noun (functioning as sing)
Also called aloes wood another name for eaglewood
bitter aloes, a bitter purgative drug made from the leaves of several species of aloe


another name for eaglewood
Word Origin
C17: from Greek agallokhon


noun (pl) -oes
any plant of the liliaceous genus Aloe, chiefly native to southern Africa, with fleshy spiny-toothed leaves and red or yellow flowers
American aloe, another name for century plant
Derived Forms
aloetic (ˌæləʊˈɛtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aloē, from Greek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aloes



Old English alewe "fragrant resin of an East Indian tree," a Biblical usage, from Latin aloe, from Greek aloe, translating Hebrew ahalim (plural, perhaps ultimately from a Dravidian language).

The Greek word probably was chosen for resemblance of sound to the Hebrew, because the Greek and Latin words referred originally to a genus of plants with spiky flowers and bitter juice, used as a purgative drug, a sense which appeared in English late 14c. The word was then misapplied to the American agave plant in 1680s. The "true aloe" consequently is called aloe vera.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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aloes in Medicine

aloe al·oe (āl'ō)

  1. Any of various chiefly African plants of the genus Aloe, having rosettes of succulent, often spiny-margined leaves and long stalks bearing yellow, orange, or red tubular flowers.

  2. Aloe vera.

  3. Any of various laxative drugs obtained from the processed juice of a certain species of aloe.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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aloes in the Bible

(Heb. 'ahalim), a fragrant wood (Num. 24:6; Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17; Cant. 4:14), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood. It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity even in India. There is another and more common species, called by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); but whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is uncertain. The bitter aloes of the apothecary is the dried juice of the leaves Aloe vulgaris.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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