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sweet basil

noun
1.
See under basil.
Origin of sweet basil
1640-1650
1640-50

basil

[baz-uh l, bas-, bey-zuh l, -suh l] /ˈbæz əl, ˈbæs-, ˈbeɪ zəl, -səl/
noun
1.
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.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English basile < Middle French < Late Latin basilicum < Greek basilikón, neuter of basilikós royal. See basilic
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sweet basil
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Take two large bunches of sweet marjoram; the same of sweet basil; and one bunch of parsley.

  • By my side I found a bouquet of carnations and sweet basil, the flowers of love.

  • Chop and mix together equal quantities of sweet marjoram and sweet basil, the leaves picked from the stalks and rubbed fine.

  • Every morning and evening the breeze was laden with fragrant scents wafted from orange-flowers and sweet basil.

  • Boccaccio and Keats have made the name of the sweet basil sound pleasantly in the ears of many people who know nothing of botany.

    Flowers and Flower-Gardens David Lester Richardson
  • The youngsters started out, raising high great bunches of sweet basil.

    The Cabin Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • There were many others used in olden days that are not common now, such as sweet basil and pot marigold.

  • Before the door of the last cell are a few potsherds in which sweet basil plants are withering from thirst.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
British Dictionary definitions for sweet basil

sweet basil

noun
1.
See basil (sense 1)

basil

/ˈbæzəl/
noun
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
Word Origin
C15: from Old French basile, from Late Latin basilicum, from Greek basilikon, from basilikos royal, from basileus king

Basil

/ˈbæzəl/
noun
1.
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 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 sweet basil

basil

n.

aromatic shrubby plant, early 15c., from Old French basile (15c., Modern French basilic), from Medieval Latin basilicum, from Greek 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.

Basil

masc. proper name, from Latin Basilius, from Greek 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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