noun, plural o·li·os.

a dish of many ingredients.
a mixture of heterogeneous elements; hodgepodge.
a medley or potpourri, as of musical or literary selections; miscellany.
  1. a specialty act performed downstage while the upstage set is changed.
  2. a performance, as a musical number, presented between scenes or acts.
  3. drop scene(def 1).
  4. a program of variety acts, especially the second half of a minstrel show.

Origin of olio

1635–45; < Spanish olla pot, stew < Latin olla, ōla pot, jar
Can be confusedoleo olio
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for olio

Contemporary Examples of olio

Historical Examples of olio

  • That'll be all for the olio; I'll go right into the after-show now.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • An age, or a country; or an olio of all ages and all countries?'


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • I might indeed, following the example of the Sunday newsmonger, call it the Olio.

  • I must have an olio pot,' she said, 'an olio pot, and the heaviest one.

    The Queen Pedauque

    Anatole France

  • If you could do anything at all, Hannah, you'd lead a chorus and go in the olio.

    The Happy End

    Joseph Hergesheimer

British Dictionary definitions for olio


noun plural olios

a dish of many different ingredients
a miscellany or potpourri

Word Origin for olio

C17: from Spanish olla stew, from Latin: jar
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 olio

medley dish of Iberian origin, 1640s, from Spanish olla, Portuguese olha, both from Vulgar Latin olla "pot, jar." Sense transferred to "any mixture or medley."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper