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[oh-lee-an-der, oh-lee-an-] /ˈoʊ liˌæn dər, ˌoʊ liˈæn-/
a poisonous shrub, Nerium oleander, of the dogbane family, native to southern Eurasia, having evergreen leaves and showy clusters of pink, red, or white flowers, and widely cultivated as an ornamental.
Origin of oleander
1540-50; < Medieval Latin oleander, oliandrum, obscurely akin to Late Latin laurandrum, perhaps a conflation of Latin laurus laurel and rhododendron rhododendron Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oleander
Historical Examples
  • In the lingering gleams of sunlight, oleander blossoms overhead were glowing masses of colour against the grey stone wall.

    Pictures in Umbria Katharine S. (Katharine Sarah) Macquoid
  • Near them was a grove of oleander bushes, loaded with beautiful blossoms.

    The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid
  • And everywhere the white flower of the orange, the oleander, the vine, and tree-high ferns!

    Southern Spain A.F. Calvert
  • Now, the leaves of the oleander are extremely poisonous to man and beast.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • I hid his clothes in the oleander bushes that fringe the water.

    Joel: A Boy of Galilee Annie Fellows Johnston
  • The only word that sounded like sense to me was something like oleander.

    The Radio Detectives A. Hyatt Verrill
  • "I don't know what makes me so sleepy this evening," Mrs. oleander said, gaping.

    The Unseen Bridgegroom May Agnes Fleming
  • That oleander tub reminds me of an ordeal that is ushered in with every change of season.

  • To cap the climax, Dr. oleander suddenly appeared upon the scene and glowered under bent black brows at coquettish Mollie.

    The Unseen Bridgegroom May Agnes Fleming
  • Then we ask him if he would just as lief bring in the oleander after supper.

British Dictionary definitions for oleander


a poisonous evergreen Mediterranean apocynaceous shrub or tree, Nerium oleander, with fragrant white, pink, or purple flowers Also called rosebay
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, variant of arodandrum, perhaps from Latin rhododendron
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 oleander

"rose bay," a poisonous evergreen Mediterranean shrub, c.1400, from Medieval Latin oleander, probably (by influence of Latin olea "olive tree") from Late Latin lorandrum, from Latin rhododendron (see rhododendron), itself altered by influence of Latin laurea "laurel," on resemblance of leaves. This round-about etymology is supported by the French word for it, laurier rose.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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