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ivy Syllabification: i·vy
Pronunciation: /ˈīvē/

Definition of ivy in English:

noun (plural ivies)

Image of ivy
1A woody evergreen Eurasian climbing plant, typically having shiny, dark green five-pointed leaves.
  • Genus Hedera, family Araliaceae: several species, in particular the common English ivy (H. helix), which is often seen climbing on tree trunks and walls
Example sentences
  • Standards of plants not requiring dormant cycles, such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, ivies or geraniums, have a simple winter culture.
  • Spider plants and ivies are ideal for desks, and a large-leaved Ficus lyrata or Phoenix roebelinii will cheer up a bare corner.
  • Containers can be given a new lease of life by replacing these plants with autumn and winter specimens such as pansies, winter-flowering heathers, hardy cyclamen and evergreen ivies.
1.1Used in names of climbing plants similar to ivy, e.g., poison ivy, Boston ivy.
Example sentences
  • I don't much like poison ivy but that doesn't mean I don't like ivy, or plants.
  • Boston Ivy can easily climb tree bark, wooden fences, concrete masonry, and brick or stone walls.
  • Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a deciduous vine with tendrils. Boston Ivy has glossy dark green leaves that turn bright red in the fall.
2An Ivy League university: many of the Ivies had been founded for the purpose of training students as ministers
More example sentences
  • He was smart enough to be recruited by the Ivies yet never finished his degree at Maryland.
  • One thing I learned at Yale is how different the Ivies are.
  • A series of culture clashes underlies this case: The Army versus the Ivies; brawn versus brain; raw politics versus political correctness.
2.1A prestigious college or university of a specified region or type: Duke is considered one of the “Southern Ivies” one would think that seats at these public Ivies would be reserved for graduates of that state’s high schools
More example sentences
  • At one time, getting into these schools, even the Baby Ivies, wasn't hard.
  • It is what Victoria Goldman, co-author of The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools, calls the Baby Ivies that are the million-dollar prize of this Survivor game.
  • That is particularly true at Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, but it also applies to "public Ivies" like the University of Michigan and many other institutions.


Old English īfig, of Germanic origin; related to the first elements of Dutch eiloof and German Efeu.

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