Definition of olive in English:


Syllabification: ol·ive
Pronunciation: /ˈäliv


  • 1A small oval fruit with a hard pit and bitter flesh, green when unripe and brownish black when ripe, used as food and as a source of oil.
    More example sentences
    • Serve as a starter or party opener with dishes of green and black olives, gherkins, a dip with potato chips and a glass of chilled dry Muscat.
    • Add grilled cherry tomatoes, stoned black olives, cavello nero and some fresh basil leaves.
    • To top it all off, dust with sliced black olives and green onions.
  • 2 (also olive tree) The widely cultivated evergreen tree that yields the olive, native to warm regions of the Old World.
    • Olea europaea, family Oleaceae (the olive family). This family also includes the ash, lilac, jasmine, and privet
    More example sentences
    • The olive is an evergreen with foliage of a distinctive silvery-green.
    • Instead they can look forward to suntans, palm trees, olive groves, melanoma and malaria.
    • Garlic is grown in the region and olives are also prevelant.
  • 2.1Used in names of other trees that are related to the olive, resemble it, or bear similar fruit, e.g., Russian olive.
  • 3 (also olive green) A grayish-green color like that of an unripe olive.
  • 4A metal ring or fitting that is tightened under a threaded nut to form a seal, as in a compression joint.
    More example sentences
    • Alternatively, the front bearing assembly could be reversed, with the shaft mounted in the flow straightener hub, and the olive ring and endstone in the inducer hub.
    • The olive seal 25 depends from the underside of the top plate 20.
    • Such olive seals have the advantage of sealing in the inside of the container opening where normally there is to be found an exactly defined sealing surface without damage.
  • 5 (also olive shell) A marine mollusk with a smooth, roughly cylindrical shell that is typically brightly colored.
    • Genus Oliva, family Olividae, class Gastropoda
    More example sentences
    • The blue-winged olive and pale watery populations have suffered similar falls.
    • A large tented olive shell is prominently placed in the center of the composition.


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  • 1Grayish-green, like an unripe olive: a small figure in olive fatigues
    More example sentences
    • They were young men in olive fatigues who had been caught out in South Lebanon, where they should never have been in the first place.
    • The next day the highly decorated young man wore his ‘Easter Monday’ best of unstarched and well-worn olive fatigues.
    • Men's looks harkened back a decade or more, with safari jackets, a '70s-era glen-plaid shirt jacket and an all-American baseball jacket in olive suede.
  • 1.1(Of the complexion) yellowish brown; sallow.
    More example sentences
    • The man spoke with an outlandish accent, presumably from the desert, judging from his leathery skin and olive complexion.
    • He had dark chestnut brown hair without a receding hairline, and eyes, and his skin had an almost olive complexion.
    • Here among all the blonde hair and fair skin of the Dramarians, my dark brown curls and olive complexion seemed exotic and exciting.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin oliva, from Greek elaia, from elaion 'oil'.

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