Definition of herb in US English:

herb

noun

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

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

    • ‘There will also be plants grown especially for the vegetable plot as well as herbs, herbaceous perennials and shrubs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many vascular epiphytes share the understorey environment with terrestrial herbs, shrubs and tree seedlings.’
    • ‘A higher mesophyll resistance in woody plants than in herbs, and in sclerophylls than in mesophytes, has been reported.’
    • ‘The crops most suited to water culture include lettuce and some herbs such as watercress and mint.’

Origin

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 until the 19th century and is still standard in the US.

Pronunciation

herb

/(h)ərb//(h)ərb/