Definition of basil in US English:



  • 1An aromatic annual herb of the mint family, native to tropical Asia.

    Genus Ocimum, family Labiatae: several species, in particular the common sweet basil (O. basilicum) and the low-growing, compact bush basilO. minimum

    • ‘My favorite herbs to grow are basil, oregano, lemon balm, parsley and mint.’
    • ‘No wonder basil is among our favorite annual herbs.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, the best approach is to treat it as an annual herb such as basil.’
    • ‘Caterpillars have invaded the basil and have been merrily chomping away!’
    • ‘A warm-weather annual, basil can be grown only in summer in most of North America.’
    • ‘If only he'd remember to use biodegradable soap, like he promised, she could use it to water the basil.’
    • ‘Thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon, and parsley are all likely contenders for windows with ledges at nose height.’
    • ‘Asparagus beetles tend to shy away from asparagus when tomatoes, parsley or basil are planted nearby.’
    • ‘One of my favorites would be the spaghetti herb box, which would include sweet basil, Greek oregano, parsley, and rosemary.’
    • ‘Some easy-to-grow annual herbs that can be transplanted to your garden next spring include basil, dill, oregano, chives, coriander, and anise.’
    • ‘Plant seedlings of basil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme.’
    • ‘My grandpa passed away last year and one of my favourite memories is seeing him in the garden with the tomatoes and the basil watering them down and looking after them!’
    • ‘Sow herbs, including basil, chives, coriander and marjoram in the garden or in windowsill pots.’
    • ‘Some also find natural gardening methods to be very effective, such as using mosquito-repelling plants like sassafras, sweet basil, eucalyptus and geraniums, particularly the citrosa variety.’
    • ‘And as every gardener should, I pinch the basil back to make it bush out.’
    • ‘Compact herbs such as chives, dwarf basil, lavender, and oregano fit nicely into the openings of concrete blocks.’
    • ‘Some people were sitting and having an argument on who watered the basil and sage last.’
    • ‘Pinch off any flowers that form on mint or basil to keep the plants vegetative.’
    1. 1.1 The leaves of the basil plant used as a culinary herb, especially in Mediterranean dishes.
      • ‘Or sprinkle your rice with oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley and sage.’
      • ‘The large pasta squares were perfectly cooked and served in a goat cheese sauce, adorned with fresh basil leaves and strips of delectable sun-dried tomato.’
      • ‘For fresh flavorings this summer, plant basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme.’
      • ‘The site is a former dairy farm, now given over to a variety of herbs - ranging from basil, parsley, coriander and chives to edible flowers and mixed salad leaves.’
      • ‘Toss a few sprigs of fresh basil, parsley and dill with the baby greens for a healthy burst of flavor.’
      • ‘Remove from the heat, add the parsley, thyme, basil, tarragon, chervil, and chives and stir to combine.’
      • ‘One authority recommends armadillo sausages, well flavoured with coriander seed, basil and bay leaves, garlic, and nutmeg.’
      • ‘Rinse and drain the cress, endive, mint, basil and coriander leaves.’
      • ‘In a middle-class household it usually starts with a plate of fresh greens - scallions, radishes, fresh basil, mint, coriander, and others in season.’
      • ‘The same applies to fresh herbs like basil or oregano.’
      • ‘Then a handful of fresh, chopped oregano, thyme, basil and tarragon was added.’
      • ‘Rosemary and thyme both release their flavours in the heat of the oven - unlike the softie herbs such as basil, marjoram and oregano which can't take the heat and are best avoided here.’
      • ‘Choose five of the following fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, chives, mint, chervil, basil, dill, tarragon.’
      • ‘The herbs you use in soup are your personal choice, but they often include basil, dill, rosemary, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves.’
      • ‘I am now the proud owner of all the fresh basil, bay leaves, thyme, sage and parsley a girl could want.’
      • ‘The real taste of yum comes from adding fresh celery, mint, and basil leaves.’
      • ‘Mix in aromatic herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme.’
      • ‘Chopped fresh herbs - such as parsley, chives, basil or chervil, or a combination - can be used for an optional garnish.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's because it isn't a classic culinary herb like basil or sage, or maybe because its medicinal values are limited.’
      • ‘Just before serving fold in basil leaves, fish sauce and lime juice.’


Late Middle English: from Old French basile, via medieval Latin from Greek basilikon, neuter of basilikos ‘royal’ (see basilica).