Definition of ivy in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A woody evergreen Eurasian climbing plant, typically having shiny, dark green five-pointed leaves.

    • ‘Containers can be given a new lease of life by replacing these plants with autumn and winter specimens such as pansies, winter-flowering heathers, hardy cyclamen and evergreen ivies.’
    • ‘Angela showed many different ivies and demonstrated what could be achieved with them including a standard plant, a fascinating wall made up of ivy trained on a wire structure and a colourful hanging basket.’
    • ‘Climbers are great for hiding drainpipes, but go for neater, smaller ivies or the scented Trachelospermum jaminoides or Jasminum polyanthum.’
    • ‘The path is lined by hedgerows of hawthorn and ivy and trees form a natural canopy.’
    • ‘Two trailing ivies filled a corner of the front edge each; they like alkaline soil so I will have to remember not to give them any coffee mulch.’
    • ‘Ours grows along horizontal wires and into the mass of other wall shrubs that exist on the wall and which include climbing hydrangea, ivy and Virginia creeper.’
    • ‘Hanging planters also make a good home for anything that will trail and spill over, such as ivies and creeping phlox, especially if the planter is hanging above eye level.’
    • ‘Fig ivy is vigorous and will quickly regrow, so you will need to eliminate the roots or spend time trimming in the future.’
    • ‘Remember too the evergreen ivies, many lustrous with brightly variegated foliage.’
    • ‘There are some ivies, for example, that will do well year-round even in cold weather, and in this way you can prepare now for having a little greenery well into the winter months.’
    • ‘It now emerges that the ivies and other foliage, which are a by-product of the soft, lime-based mortar we use to point the walls, are not damaging to the walls, and can actually provide protection for the winter.’
    • ‘Cape ivy harms willows by overgrowing saplings and blocking out light the trees need to survive.’
    • ‘Essentially evergreen, woody climbers, most ivies are self-clinging and most are hardy.’
    • ‘The once bare sandstone buildings are covered with constricting vines, ivies, and mosses.’
    • ‘Asters look fabulous combined with gold variegated trailing ivies and heathers with lime-green or flame coloured foliage.’
    • ‘The classic window box plant is ivy, from plain dark green to variegated pale green and white.’
    • ‘Feenfinger is a dark green miniature ivy with tiny pointed birdsfoot shaped leaves densely packed on self-branching steams.’
    • ‘Standards of plants not requiring dormant cycles, such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, ivies or geraniums, have a simple winter culture.’
    • ‘We chose 3 varieties of thyme to put in the edges of the raised bed and 3 climbing plants to fill the trellis by the gate - two ivies and a honeysuckle.’
    • ‘Spider plants and ivies are ideal for desks, and a large-leaved Ficus lyrata or Phoenix roebelinii will cheer up a bare corner.’
    1. 1.1Used in names of climbing plants similar to ivy, e.g. poison ivy, Boston ivy.
      • ‘I don't much like poison ivy but that doesn't mean I don't like ivy, or plants.’
      • ‘Boston Ivy can easily climb tree bark, wooden fences, concrete masonry, and brick or stone walls.’
      • ‘Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a deciduous vine with tendrils. Boston Ivy has glossy dark green leaves that turn bright red in the fall.’
  • 2US An Ivy League university.

    ‘many of the Ivies had been founded for the purpose of training students as ministers’
    • ‘He was smart enough to be recruited by the Ivies yet never finished his degree at Maryland.’
    • ‘The more politically correct culture prevailing at other schools, especially the Ivies, can be a problem for conservative students.’
    • ‘For big-time sports programs and the Ivies, winning football games does not translate into increased giving rates to the institution.’
    • ‘A series of culture clashes underlies this case: The Army versus the Ivies; brawn versus brain; raw politics versus political correctness.’
    • ‘Traditionally, Princeton has also been far less a magnet for media coverage than Ivies with departments, such as Harvard or Yale.’
    • ‘One thing I learned at Yale is how different the Ivies are.’
    • ‘Some imagined a backlash among the other Ivies - others opined that fund raising for the school's capital campaign would suffer.’
    • ‘The prep schools and the Ivies are a key part of the Northeast's identity, its sense of academic excellence and its aristocratic subculture.’
    • ‘Well-intentioned parents, he says, mold their children from pre-school to high school in preparation for admission in to one of the Ivies.’
    • ‘According to the Dean of Admissions, most other Ivies are also in favor of the gap year.’
    1. 2.1A prestigious college or university of a specified region or type.
      ‘Duke is considered one of the 'Southern Ivies'’
      ‘one would think that seats at these public Ivies would be reserved for graduates of that state's high schools’
      • ‘The Kaplan/Newsweek "How to Get into College" guide lists Notre Dame among the "new Ivies," schools that it says rival the Ivy League for stature and quality.’
      • ‘There is also a trend toward the semiprivatization of state flagship campus institutions (now being called "the public Ivies"), which may push fees yet higher.’
      • ‘According to The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities, the University of Colorado Boulder is considered one of the prestigious "Public Ivy League" schools.’
      • ‘That is particularly true at Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, but it also applies to "public Ivies" like the University of Michigan and many other institutions.’
      • ‘Brooklyn schools are the Appalachian cousins of the Baby Ivies and take great pride in the number of their Manhattan applicants.’
      • ‘At one time, getting into these schools, even the Baby Ivies, wasn't hard.’
      • ‘It is what Victoria Goldman, co-author of The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools, calls the Baby Ivies that are the million-dollar prize of this Survivor game.’
      • ‘Boston College sent out a notice that it had been named one of the 25 "New Ivies" in Newsweek.’


Old English īfig, of Germanic origin; related to the first elements of Dutch eiloof and German Efeu.