[oh-lee-an-der, oh-lee-an-]


a poisonous shrub, Nerium oleander, of the dogbane family, native to southern Eurasia, having evergreen leaves and showy clusters of pink, red, or white flowers, and widely cultivated as an ornamental.

Origin of oleander

1540–50; < Medieval Latin oleander, oliandrum, obscurely akin to Late Latin laurandrum, perhaps a conflation of Latin laurus laurel and rhododendron rhododendron
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oleander

Historical Examples of oleander

  • Whatever it was, poor Oleander was certainly hard at work now.

  • Near them was a grove of oleander bushes, loaded with beautiful blossoms.

  • Such terms as "gravel" and "oleander" had produced this attraction.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery

    Rebecca N. Porter

  • Fig. 52 shows an oleander cutting at a, a carnation at b, and a geranium at c.

    The Nursery Book

    Liberty Hyde Bailey

  • You yourself, maestro, told me to resort to the oleander leaves.

    The Wolf Cub

    Patrick Casey

British Dictionary definitions for oleander



a poisonous evergreen Mediterranean apocynaceous shrub or tree, Nerium oleander, with fragrant white, pink, or purple flowersAlso called: rosebay

Word Origin for oleander

C16: from Medieval Latin, variant of arodandrum, perhaps from Latin rhododendron
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 oleander

"rose bay," a poisonous evergreen Mediterranean shrub, c.1400, from Medieval Latin oleander, probably (by influence of Latin olea "olive tree") from Late Latin lorandrum, from Latin rhododendron (see rhododendron), itself altered by influence of Latin laurea "laurel," on resemblance of leaves. This round-about etymology is supported by the French word for it, laurier rose.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper