Definition of aloe in US English:



  • 1A succulent plant, typically having a rosette of toothed fleshy leaves and bell-shaped or tubular flowers on long stems. Native to the Old World tropics, several species are cultivated commercially or as ornamentals.

    Genus Aloe, family Liliaceae (or Aloaceae)

    • ‘It's a tiny piece of lawn ringed with a bed of alyssum, purple wandering jew groundcover, aloes, wild garlic and other assorted plants.’
    • ‘The planters use aloes and other succulent plants that are able to survive under different kinds of environmental conditions.’
    • ‘The margin of the aloe leaf is usually lifted with teeth having a sharp terminal spine on the end of each leaf.’
    • ‘The leaf of the aloe plant contains 12 different vitamins and 20 different minerals as part of its 200 active compounds.’
    • ‘Go to your local nursery and buy an aloe plant now, so that you will have the thick gel to use when the weather really heats up.’
    1. 1.1 A strong laxative obtained from the bitter juice of various kinds of aloe.
      • ‘The bitter aloes consist of free anthraquinones and their derivatives.’
      • ‘At low doses, bitter aloes stimulate digestion, and at higher doses, they are a laxative and a purgative.’
      • ‘As far as I know I've never smelled bitter aloes but the name suggests the smell I have in mind.’
      • ‘He may be a gourmand, and an epicure, but even bitter aloes may be placed on his tongue.’
      • ‘The leaves provide the clear aloe gel that Cleopatra is said to have used on her famously luscious skin, and the yellow sap that comes from the base of the dried leaf is known as bitter aloes.’
    2. 1.2
      another term for century plant
      • ‘Preferring a limestone-rich soil, American aloe requires full sun.’
      • ‘The resort itself is hidden amongst lagoons, trees and plants from the Mediterranean and warmer climates such as the American Aloe or the Yucca.’
  • 2aloesThe fragrant heartwood of a tropical Asian tree.

    The wood is obtained from two trees of the genus Aquilaria, family Thymelaeaceae, especially A. agallocha

    • ‘In Thailand, the problem is most severe in Khao Yai National Park, said to be one of the world's best sources of high-quality sandalwood, a species of aloe wood.’
    • ‘We would like to see important products, like sago, rattan, and aloe wood being protected for future use, and the area that we set aside for production use could be used by logging companies if proper agreements can be made.’
    • ‘It's the middleman who used to buy Sam's aloe wood; Sam still owes him 6,000 baht for helping pay his poaching fine.’
    • ‘Galster walks up to the owner, a middle-aged Iraqi with a clipped rectangular mustache, and explains that he wants to export aloe wood to the United States.’
    • ‘All of these constituents are aromatic indicating that the cinnamon oil, the oil of anise star and the linalool oil of aloe wood all emanate from the powder composition.’
    1. 2.1 The resin obtained from aloeswood, used in perfume, incense, and medicine.
      • ‘Using toner also helps combat oil buildup (Olay's contains witch hazel and aloe, so it won't dry out your skin).’
      • ‘The dog watched her search through her cloak to find the aloe.’
      • ‘I was too numb to feel the cool touch of the aloe to my skin.’
      • ‘The foundation (which comes in nine shades) and the concealer (three shades) go on smoothly and absorb excess oil, but they also have soothing aloe and chamomile to reduce redness around breakouts.’
      • ‘People have known about the medicinal value of aloe for thousands of years.’


Old English alewe, alwe (denoting the fragrant resin or heartwood of certain oriental trees), via Latin from Greek aloē; reinforced in late Middle English by Old French aloes ‘aloe’, hence frequently used in the plural.