Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous, usually bulbous plants of the genus Allium in the lily family, having long stalks bearing clusters of variously colored flowers and including many ornamental and food plants, such as onions, leeks, chives, garlic, and shallots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of many bulbous plants, of the genus Allium, related to onions and garlic

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of plants, including the onion, garlic, leek, chive, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The largest genus of plants of the natural order Liliaceæ, of about 300 species, natives, with few exceptions, of the northern temperate zone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. large genus of perennial and biennial pungent bulbous plants: garlic; leek; onion; chive; sometimes placed in family Alliaceae as the type genus

Etymologies

Latin, garlic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Garlic, the most potent member of the family called allium that includes onions, shallots, chives and leeks, known for hundreds, if not thousands of years as a tool to ward off evil, may have gained this reputation for its wide-ranging health benefits.

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  • It puts forward the idea that Earth is a globular allium and "pain and fear" are the lachrymatory agents that provoke all the tears.

    Readers recommend songs about vegetables: The results

  • When the fire's good and hot, run the allium up and down the grates with a fork to remove the residue.

    The Big Grill

  • Photograph by Tara Donne for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Martha Bernabe, Prop Styling by Angharad Bailey Mixing rosemary, dill, mint, white allium and scabiosa Step One Using a mix of leggy and dense herbs—rosemary, yellow flowering dill, mountain mint—build a framework of textures and fragrances.

    Herb-and-Flower Arrangements

  • Step Two We added a pop of white with allium scattered throughout the greenery at varying heights.

    Herb-and-Flower Arrangements

  • Chives, shallots, leeks—they are all considered varieties of onion from the Latin allium .

    Anglo-Saxon On the Menu

  • Separately, sauté the shallots (the onion wannabe of the allium world).

    Family Recipes: Mary Jones' Shrimp Dish

  • In an effort to protect her flock, Sandrow planted a wide variety of feather-like foliage, ostrich ferns, corkscrew grass, tall flowering balls of purple allium and bristling shrubs of juniper and cyprus that camouflage the birds' exotic plumage thereby protecting them from the hawks circling above.

    Gabrielle Selz: The Egg, Inside and Out

  • Some are small and tight and barely bigger than a golf ball, others sweet and juicy with an altogether softer tone, and some with only the merest hint of allium about them.

    Nigel Slater's onion tart recipe

  • Bart Ziegler Artemisia 'Oriental Limelight,' with its plumes of yellow-green leaves (center) provides a striking contrast to the purple salvia (foreground) and globes of violet allium in my spring garden shown last year, but it threatens to take over the flower bed.

    Garden Thugs

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