lead up/down the garden path, to deceive or mislead in an enticing way; lead on; delude: The voters had been led up the garden path too often to take a candidate's promises seriously.

Origin of garden

1300–50; Middle English gardin < Old North French gardin, Old French jardin < Germanic; compare Old High German gartin-, German Garten, yard2
Related formsgar·den·a·ble, adjectivegar·den·less, adjectivegar·den·like, adjectiveun·gar·dened, adjectivewell-gar·dened, adjective




Alexander,1730?–91, U.S. naturalist, born in Scotland.
Mary,1877–1967, U.S. soprano. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for garden

Contemporary Examples of garden

Historical Examples of garden

  • In the garden of Anaxagoras, you will find a statue of Pallas, carved from an olive-tree.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Robert went out into the garden, and dug some worms for bait.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Omar Ben became conscious of an uproar beyond the garden wall.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

  • Katharine, dear, are you going to the vicar's garden party this afternoon?


    William J. Locke

  • Their cat came over the garden wall and bit off the blades of the irises.

British Dictionary definitions for garden



  1. an area of land, usually planted with grass, trees, flowerbeds, etc, adjoining a houseUS and Canadian word: yard
  2. (as modifier)a garden chair
  1. an area of land used for the cultivation of ornamental plants, herbs, fruit, vegetables, trees, etc
  2. (as modifier)garden tools Related adjective: horticultural
(often plural) such an area of land that is open to the public, sometimes part of a parkbotanical gardens
  1. a fertile and beautiful region
  2. (as modifier)a garden paradise
(modifier) provided with or surrounded by a garden or gardensa garden flat
lead a person up the garden path informal to mislead or deceive a person


common or garden informal ordinary; unexceptional


to work in, cultivate, or take care of (a garden, plot of land, etc)
Derived Formsgardenless, adjectivegarden-like, adjective

Word Origin for garden

C14: from Old French gardin, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German gart enclosure; see yard ² (sense 1)
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 garden

c.1300, from Old North French gardin (13c., Modern French jardin), from Vulgar Latin hortus gardinus "enclosed garden," via Frankish *gardo, from Proto-Germanic *gardaz- (cf. Old Frisian garda, Old Saxon gardo, Old High German garto, German Garten "garden," Old English geard "enclosure," see yard (n.1)). Italian giardino, Spanish jardin are from French.

Garden-party is by 1843. Garden variety in figurative sense first recorded 1928. To lead someone up the garden path "entice, deceive" is attested by 1925.


1570s, from garden (n.). Related: Gardened; gardening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with garden


In addition to the idiom beginning with garden

  • garden variety

also see:

  • lead down the garden path
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.