sweet bay


an American magnolia, Magnolia virginiana, having large oblong leaves and fragrant, white flowers, common on the Atlantic coast.

Origin of sweet bay

First recorded in 1710–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for sweet bay

  • The wind died away; the odor of cedar and sweet-bay hung heavy in the air.

    In Search of the Unknown|Robert W. Chambers
  • Bay-leaf, the leaf of the sweet-bay or laurel tree (Laurus nobilis).

  • He fidgetted with his sweet-bay twig, considering the aromatic leaves with a troubled and concentrated scowl.

    Quick Action|Robert W. Chambers
  • North and south dunes glimmered; and the hot fragrance of sweet-bay mingled with the mounting savour of the sea.

    The Firing Line|Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for sweet bay

sweet bay


a small tree, Magnolia virginiana, of SE North America, having large fragrant white flowers: family Magnoliaceae (magnolias)Sometimes shortened to: bay
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