• 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.
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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


[uh-gal-uh k, ag-uh-lok]
  1. the fragrant, resinous wood of an East Indian tree, Aquilaria agallocha, of the mezereum family, used as incense in Asia.
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Origin of agalloch

1625–35; < Late Latin agallochon < Greek agállochon (altered by influence of agállein to decorate); ultimately of Dravidian orig.; see eaglewood
Also called a·gal·lo·chum [uh-gal-uh-kuh m] /əˈgæl ə kəm/, ag·al·wood [ag-uh l-woo d] /ˈæg əlˌwʊd/, agilawood, aloes, aloeswood, eaglewood, lignaloes.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aloes

Historical Examples of aloes

  • Nicodemus brought a large quantity of myrrh and aloes, about a hundredweight.

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

  • I laugh; I see they are the aloes only, planted here in rows along the road.


    Laura E. Richards

  • Aloes one grain-pill every hour will frequently stay in the stomach.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II

    Erasmus Darwin

  • A pill of aloes and iron is one of the best that can be given.

  • Sleep tranquilly in your lairs amongst the aloes and the cactus!

    Tartarin de Tarascon

    Alphonse Daudet

British Dictionary definitions for aloes


noun (functioning as singular)
  1. Also called: aloes wood another name for eaglewood
  2. bitter aloes a bitter purgative drug made from the leaves of several species of aloe
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  1. another name for eaglewood
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Word Origin for agalloch

C17: from Greek agallokhon


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
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Derived Formsaloetic (ˌæləʊˈɛtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for aloe

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 aloes



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aloes 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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.