sweet-basil

sweet basil

noun
See under basil.

Origin:
1640–50

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basil

[baz-uhl, bas-, bey-zuhl, -suhl]
noun
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

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
basil (ˈbæzəl)
 
n
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)
 
n
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

sweet basil
 
n
See basil

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

basil
"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.

Basil
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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