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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for oleander
Historical Examples
  • Whatever it was, poor oleander was certainly hard at work now.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman

    Emma Speed Sampson
  • Near them was a grove of oleander bushes, loaded with beautiful blossoms.

    The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid
  • Such terms as "gravel" and "oleander" had produced this attraction.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery Rebecca N. Porter
  • Fig. 52 shows an oleander cutting at a, a carnation at b, and a geranium at c.

    The Nursery Book Liberty Hyde Bailey
  • Now, the leaves of the oleander are extremely poisonous to man and beast.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • But man who has no strong instincts, often dies poisoned by the oleander's juices.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • You yourself, maestro, told me to resort to the oleander leaves.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • But the oleander leaves did not get rid of the panniers of the three poisoned beasts.

    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
  • I heard of but one fatal case of oleander poisoning—and that was doubtful.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
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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