"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
) because it was supposed to be an antidote to the basilisk's venom.