What does basil mean?

Definitions for basil
ˈbæz əl, ˈbæs-, ˈbeɪ zəl, -səlbasil

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word basil.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. basilnoun

    any of several Old World tropical aromatic annual or perennial herbs of the genus Ocimum

  2. Basil, St. Basil, Basil of Caesarea, Basil the Great, St. Basil the Greatnoun

    (Roman Catholic Church) the bishop of Caesarea who defended the Roman Catholic Church against the heresies of the 4th century; a saint and Doctor of the Church (329-379)

  3. basil, sweet basilnoun

    leaves of the common basil; used fresh or dried


  1. Basilnoun

    A male given name from Ancient Greek, in quiet but steady use in the UK.

    "Nonsense. I'm sure he can't have grey hair with such a pretty name as that. Basil Brooke, Basil Brooke," and May chanted the name over and over in her girlish, musical voice. "It sounds like all sorts of pleasant pictures. - -

  2. Etymology: Name of several early saints, particularly in the Orthodox Church, from Latin Basilius, from Ancient Greek Βασίλειος (Basíleios).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Basilnoun

    ocymum, Lat. The name of a plant.

    This plant hath a labiated flower of one leaf, whose crest is upright, roundish, notched, and larger than the beard, which is generally curled, or gently cut. Out of the flower cup rises the pointal, attended by four embryos, that become so many seeds inclosed in a husk, which was before the flower cup; the husk is divided into two lips, the upper one growing upright, and is split into two; but the under one is cut into several parts. The species are eight;
    1. Common basil.
    2. Common basil, with dark green leaves, and white flowers.
    3. Lesser basil, with narrow serrated leaves.
    4. The least basil, commonly called bush-basil, &c. These annual plants are propagated from seeds in March, upon a moderate hot bed. In August they perfect their seeds. The first sort is prescribed in medicine; but the fourth is most esteemed for its beauty and scent. Philip Miller.

  2. Basilnoun

    The angle to which the edge of a joiner’s tool is ground away.

  3. Basilnoun

    The skin of a sheep tanned. Dict.

  4. To Basilverb

    To grind the edge of a tool to an angle.

    These chissels are not ground to such a basil as the joiners chissels on one of the sides, but are basiled away on both the flat sides; so that the edge lies between both the sides in the middle of the tool. Joseph Moxon, Mechanical Exercises.


  1. basil

    Basil is a culinary herb, scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, latest to the mint family Lamiaceae. It is commonly used fresh in recipes and is an essential ingredient in Italian cooking, particularly in pesto. The herb is also commonly used in Asian and Indiant cuisine. It is characterized by its green leaves and strong, pungent, often sweet smell. Basil is also used for its medicinal properties in several traditions, such as Ayurveda.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Basilnoun

    the slope or angle to which the cutting edge of a tool, as a plane, is ground

  2. Basilverb

    to grind or form the edge of to an angle

  3. Basilnoun

    the name given to several aromatic herbs of the Mint family, but chiefly to the common or sweet basil (Ocymum basilicum), and the bush basil, or lesser basil (O. minimum), the leaves of which are used in cookery. The name is also given to several kinds of mountain mint (Pycnanthemum)

  4. Basilnoun

    the skin of a sheep tanned with bark


  1. Basil

    Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum, of the family Lamiaceae, sometimes known as Saint Joseph's Wort in some English-speaking countries. Basil, originally from India, but thoroughly familiar to Theophrastus and Dioscurides, is a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the cuisine of Taiwan. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil and holy basil, which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as 'African Blue'. Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Basil

    baz′il, n. a mainly tropical or subtropical genus of Labiatæ, characterised by a pleasant aromatic smell and taste, and reckoned amongst sweet herbs.—Sweet basil is an Indian annual long cultivated in Europe for seasoning purposes. [O. Fr. basile—L. basilisca—Gr. basilikon, royal.]

  2. Basil

    baz′il, n. a sheepskin roughly tanned and undressed.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. basil

    The angle to which the edge of shipwrights' cutting tools is ground away.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. BASIL

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Basil is ranked #13088 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Basil surname appeared 2,344 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Basil.

    77.6% or 1,821 total occurrences were White.
    9.2% or 216 total occurrences were Black.
    6% or 142 total occurrences were Asian.
    4.2% or 100 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2% or 48 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.7% or 17 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for basil »

  1. bails

  2. labis

How to pronounce basil?

How to say basil in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of basil in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of basil in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of basil in a Sentence

  1. Joe Sliwkowski:

    Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, so if my kids have bites I just take the leaf, crinkle it and rub it on the skin.

  2. Kristy Del Coro:

    Many foods found at the farmers' market are so delicious eaten on their own, they require minimal preparation, you don't even need to buy a lot at once -- start by purchasing a few foods that are familiar to you and simple to prepare, like tomatoes, basil and mozzarella to make a classic caprese salad.

  3. Aysegul Sanford:

    This Italian-inspired baked chicken Parmesan will have your other half falling in love all over again, the creaminess from the cheese balances nicely with the tangy rich tomato sauce and the fresh basil offers some herbal accents. It offers all the satisfaction and indulgence of the original dish but with a healthy twist. Use this recipe for perfect golden crispy chicken every time without the need for frying.

  4. Philip Powell:

    the Basil Spence Syndrome. When Coventry Cathedral was going up and in the public eye, he went through a lean period when he wasn't offered any jobs at all because people thought he wouldn't have time for anything else.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for basil

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"basil." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/basil>.

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