• synonyms


noun, plural al·oes.
  1. any chiefly African shrub belonging to the genus Aloe, of the lily family, certain species of which yield a fiber.
  2. aloe vera.
  3. century plant.
  4. aloes, (used with a singular verb) agalloch.
Show More

Origin of aloe

before 950; Middle English alōe, alow, alewen; Old English al(u)we, alewe (compare Old Saxon, Old High German āloê) < Latin aloē < Greek alóē, perhaps < South Asia via Hebrew
Related formsal·o·et·ic [al-oh-et-ik] /ˌæl oʊˈɛt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aloe

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Now the aloe, you know, is of a cumbersome height for a supper ornament.

  • It had no gate but a gap in the fence, and no fence but a hedge of the prickly pear and the aloe.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • You know what happens to the aloe, sir, when it has flowered?


    John Galsworthy

  • The American aloe, from which cordage is made; similar to the piña of Manila.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Near the top were laid sandal, aloe, and other kinds of fragrant wood.

British Dictionary definitions for aloe


noun plural -oes
  1. any plant of the liliaceous genus Aloe, chiefly native to southern Africa, with fleshy spiny-toothed leaves and red or yellow flowers
  2. American aloe another name for century plant
Show More
Derived Formsaloetic (ˌæləʊˈɛtɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Latin aloē, from Greek
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

Word Origin and History for aloe


Old English alewe "fragrant resin of an East Indian tree," a Biblical usage, from Latin aloe, from Greek aloe, translating Hebrew ahalim (plural, perhaps ultimately from a Dravidian language).

The Greek word probably was chosen for resemblance of sound to the Hebrew, because the Greek and Latin words referred originally to a genus of plants with spiky flowers and bitter juice, used as a purgative drug, a sense which appeared in English late 14c. The word was then misapplied to the American agave plant in 1680s. The "true aloe" consequently is called aloe vera.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aloe in Medicine


  1. Any of various chiefly African plants of the genus Aloe, having rosettes of succulent, often spiny-margined leaves and long stalks bearing yellow, orange, or red tubular flowers.
  2. Aloe vera.
  3. Any of various laxative drugs obtained from the processed juice of a certain species of aloe.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.