- any of several aromatic herbs belonging to the genus Ocimum, of the mint family, as O. basilicum (sweet basil), having purplish-green ovate leaves used in cooking.
Origin of basil
- Saint.Also Basilius.the Great, a.d. 329?–379, bishop of Caesarea in Asia Minor (brother of Saint Gregory of Nyssa).
- a male given name: from a Greek word meaning “royal.”
Examples from the Web for basil
In the sixth episode of the BBC comedy series, Basil Fawlty is desperately trying to serve dinner to a party of German guests.Life Under Air Strikes: Children Under Fire Will Never Forget — or Forgive
August 3, 2014
And like David Paterson, another indulged child of another New York political powerhouse, Basil Paterson.Andrew Cuomo’s Do-Gooders Done Wrong
July 28, 2014
Whiter Teeth—Make a paste by crushing some basil leaves with the zest of an orange.Use These 15 Home Remedies Based On Ayurveda To Cure Menstrual Cramps, Hangovers, and Indigestion
January 21, 2014
The complaint is someone was rude to me, my salad was incomplete, they left the basil off my TBM.If Cosi Wants to Make a Profit, It Needs to Increase Wages
August 22, 2013
There is, in Harlem, a “gang of four”: Percy Sutton, Basil Paterson, Charlie Rangel, and Dinkins.Bill Lynch, the Culminator
August 12, 2013
Basil returned to Australia, but disappears from view until 1840.
Basil Kendall was well educated, and had done what he could to educate his children.
Fischer, Basil Jones and my son have been killed in the War.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
Up goes the right of Basil the son of Richard, and behold while all cry “a parry!”
But Basil the son of Richard heeds him not, and his eyes laugh still.
- Also called: sweet basil a Eurasian plant, Ocimum basilicum, having spikes of small white flowers and aromatic leaves used as herbs for seasoning: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
- Also called: wild basil a European plant, Satureja vulgaris (or Clinopodium vulgare), with dense clusters of small pink or whitish flowers: family Lamiaceae
- basil-thyme a European plant, Acinos arvensis, having clusters of small violet-and-white flowers: family Lamiaceae
- Saint, called the Great, ?329–379 ad, Greek patriarch: an opponent of Arianism and one of the founders of monasticism. Feast day: Jan 2, June 14, or Jan 1
Word Origin and History for basil
aromatic shrubby plant, early 15c., from Old French basile (15c., Modern French basilic), from Medieval Latin basilicum, from Greek basilikon (phyton) "royal (plant)," from basileus "king" (see Basil). So called, probably, because it was believed to have been used in making royal perfumes. In Latin, confused with basiliscus (see basilisk) because it was supposed to be an antidote to the basilisk's venom.
masc. proper name, from Latin Basilius, from Greek Basileios "kingly, royal," from basileus "king," of unknown origin, possibly from a language of Asia Minor (cf. Lydian battos "king").