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English holly

See under holly (def 1).


[hol-ee] /ˈhɒl i/
noun, plural hollies.
any of numerous trees or shrubs of the genus Ilex, as I. opaca (American holly) the state tree of Delaware, or I. aquifolium (English holly) having glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries.
the foliage and berries, used for decoration, especially during the Christmas season.
Origin of holly
before 1150; Middle English holi(e), holyn, Old English hole(g)n; cognate with Welsh celyn, Irish cuillean; akin to Dutch, German hulst, French houx (< Old High German hulis) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for English holly


noun (pl) -lies
any tree or shrub of the genus Ilex, such as the Eurasian I. aquifolium, having bright red berries and shiny evergreen leaves with prickly edges
branches of any of these trees, used for Christmas decorations
holly oak, another name for holm oak
See also sea holly
Word Origin
Old English holegn; related to Old Norse hulfr, Old High German hulis, German Hulst, Old Slavonic kolja prick


Buddy. real name Charles Harden Holley. 1936–59, US rock-and-roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter. His hits (all 1956–59) include "That'll be the Day", "Maybe Baby", "Peggy Sue", "Oh, Boy", "Think It Over", and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"
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 English holly



mid-15c., earlier holin (mid-12c.), shortening of Old English holegn "holly," from Proto-Germanic *hulin- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German hulis, Old Norse hulfr, Middle Dutch huls, Dutch, German hulst "holly"), cognate with Middle Irish cuilenn, Welsh celyn, Gaelic cuilionn "holly," probably all from PIE root *kel- "to prick" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kolja "to prick," Russian kolos "ear of corn"), in reference to its leaves. French houx "holly" is from Frankish *huls or some other Germanic source.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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