- 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
- BuddyCharles Hardin Holley, 1936–59, U.S. rock and roll singer and guitarist.
- a female or male given name.
Examples from the Web for holly
Contemporary Examples of holly
Deck your halls instead with boughs of holly, shouting “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Hanukkah”) well into the night.A Field General in the War on Christmas
December 24, 2014
From the religious (‘The Holly and the Ivy’) to the secular (‘The Chipmunk Song’), my top 20.Yes, I Like Christmas Music. Stop Laughing.
December 24, 2014
Something tells me Holly Golightly would have thoroughly approved.The Incredible Art of Christmas Windows
November 24, 2014
In the first chapter, rebellious Holly Sykes runs away from home and headlong into the melancholy perils of first love.David Mitchell’s ‘The Bone Clocks’ Is Fun But Mostly Empty Calories
September 14, 2014
Sam's family lives next to Holly's family in Oxford and we're all looking forward to watching the children grow up together.Branson Babies Add To British Boom
September 10, 2014
Historical Examples of holly
After laying in the jail at Holly Springs about three weeks Wilson came for me.Biography of a Slave
Until to-morrow night, then, blinded and bewildered with holly and cedar let me be!Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
There was a thicket of holly and underwood, as dense as a jungle, close about the door.The Room in the Dragon Volant
J. Sheridan LeFanu
Pile them prettily on a dish, and decorate them with holly leaves.The Skilful Cook
The peare and holly may be made to spread, and the Oke to close.A New Orchard And Garden
- 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
Word Origin for holly
- 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"
mid-15c., earlier holin (mid-12c.), shortening of Old English holegn "holly," from Proto-Germanic *hulin- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German hulis, Old Norse hulfr, Middle Dutch huls, Dutch, German hulst "holly"), cognate with Middle Irish cuilenn, Welsh celyn, Gaelic cuilionn "holly," probably all from PIE root *kel- "to prick" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kolja "to prick," Russian kolos "ear of corn"), in reference to its leaves. French houx "holly" is from Frankish *huls or some other Germanic source.