See under holly(def 1).
Origin of American holly
An Americanism dating back to 1775–85
Definition for american holly (2 of 2)
[ hol-ee ]
/ ˈhɒl i /
noun, plural hol·lies.
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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for american holly (1 of 2)
/ (ˈhɒlɪ) /
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"
British Dictionary definitions for american holly (2 of 2)
/ (ˈhɒlɪ) /
noun plural -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 for holly
Old English holegn; related to Old Norse hulfr, Old High German hulis, German Hulst, Old Slavonic kolja prick
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