Definition of herb in English:



  • 1Any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume.

    ‘bundles of dried herbs’
    [as modifier] ‘a formal herb garden’
    • ‘Rosemary, the herb of remembrance, flavors holiday food and decorations.’
    • ‘You can plant the herbs in the garden corners and at the very front for easy access.’
    • ‘Fresh chamomile can be used in wreaths and bouquets of flowers and herbs.’
    • ‘Secluded from the street, you dine beside an herb garden, flowers and a fountain.’
    • ‘One of them is fenugreek seed extract, a traditional herb medicine for treating diabetes.’
    • ‘Coriander is an ephemeral plant which only lasts two to three months, so you need to regularly plant new coriander in your herb garden.’
    • ‘This is just a small selection of the many herbs that are heat-tolerant; in the herb garden dry doesn't mean dreary.’
    • ‘Early March is the ideal time to start many slow-growing flower and herb seeds for this summer's garden.’
    • ‘Whether you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs or prefer to use them for their medicinal qualities, an herb garden can be a fun, satisfying hobby.’
    • ‘He makes his sirloin with an herb butter of parsley, tarragon, marjoram, basil, and sage.’
    • ‘As a medicinal herb, lilies were said to treat burns, snakebite and even leprosy.’
    • ‘You can take time to select chocolate or apple mint, lemon basil, and pungent garlic from an herb garden.’
    • ‘But they take care of their herb gardens and flower gardens themselves.’
    • ‘The formal herb garden, crammed with medicinal and culinary plants, is the largest in Ireland.’
    • ‘This article explains how to start an indoor herb garden from plants or seed and how to properly care for it.’
    • ‘There have long been local specialities of wines flavoured with herbs, spices, flowers, or nuts.’
    • ‘Making a lovely spreading mound of dark green leaves, lemon thyme is a fine addition to the herb garden.’
    • ‘I also find the green leaves of ivy, herbs and other plants are beautiful as well.’
    • ‘Consider planting themed gardens in them such as all blue flowers or Italian seasoning herbs.’
    • ‘For a couple of herbs, coriander and cilantro sure do cause a lot of confusion.’
    flavouring, salt and pepper, herbs, spices, condiments, dressing, relish
    View synonyms
  • 2Botany
    Any seed-bearing plant that does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering.

    • ‘A higher mesophyll resistance in woody plants than in herbs, and in sclerophylls than in mesophytes, has been reported.’
    • ‘The opium poppy is an annual herb with an erect stem, having a solitary flower that is white, red, or purplish, depending on the cultivar.’
    • ‘The crops most suited to water culture include lettuce and some herbs such as watercress and mint.’
    • ‘Many vascular epiphytes share the understorey environment with terrestrial herbs, shrubs and tree seedlings.’
    • ‘There will also be plants grown especially for the vegetable plot as well as herbs, herbaceous perennials and shrubs.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin herba grass, green crops, herb Although herb has always been spelled with an h, pronunciation without it was usual in British English until the 19th century and is still standard in the US.