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[oh-lee-oh] /ˈoʊ liˌoʊ/
noun, plural olios.
a dish of many ingredients.
Informal. olla podrida (def 2).
a mixture of heterogeneous elements; hodgepodge.
a medley or potpourri, as of musical or literary selections; miscellany.
  1. a specialty act performed downstage while the upstage set is changed.
  2. a performance, as a musical number, presented between scenes or acts.
  3. drop scene (def 1).
  4. a program of variety acts, especially the second half of a minstrel show.
Origin of olio
1635-45; < Spanish olla pot, stew < Latin olla, ōla pot, jar
Can be confused
oleo, olio. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for olio
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That'll be all for the olio; I'll go right into the after-show now.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • An age, or a country; or an olio of all ages and all countries?'

    Tancred Benjamin Disraeli
  • I might indeed, following the example of the Sunday newsmonger, call it the olio.

  • I must have an olio pot,' she said, 'an olio pot, and the heaviest one.

    The Queen Pedauque Anatole France
  • If you could do anything at all, Hannah, you'd lead a chorus and go in the olio.

    The Happy End Joseph Hergesheimer
  • But I have such an olio of affairs, really I know not what to do.

    The Way of the World William Congreve
  • Though I do not doubt but they are an olio of lies and scandal, I should like to see them.

    The Ladies E. Barrington
  • Think of paying three or four francs for less than half a pound sott 'olio in Paris.

British Dictionary definitions for olio


noun (pl) olios
a dish of many different ingredients
a miscellany or potpourri
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish olla stew, from Latin: jar
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 olio

medley dish of Iberian origin, 1640s, from Spanish olla, Portuguese olha, both from Vulgar Latin olla "pot, jar." Sense transferred to "any mixture or medley."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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