Definitions

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

  • n. An aromatic evergreen Mediterranean shrub (Rosmarinus officinalis) having light blue or pink flowers and grayish-green leaves that are used in cooking and perfumery.
  • n. The leaves of this plant used as a seasoning.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a shrub that originates from Europe and Asia Minor and produces a fragrant herb used in cooking and perfumes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A labiate shrub (Rosmarinus officinalis) with narrow grayish leaves, growing native in the southern part of France, Spain, and Italy, also in Asia Minor and in China. It has a fragrant smell, and a warm, pungent, bitterish taste. It is used in cookery, perfumery, etc., and is an emblem of fidelity or constancy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An evergreen shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, native in southern Europe, widely cultivated. (See Rosmarinus.)
  • n. In Australia, any one of several species of the genus Westringia, belonging to the mint family, especially W. Dampieri, whose resemblance to the rosemary of Europe led Dampier to give its name to Rosemary Island in the Dampier archipelago.

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

  • n. widely cultivated for its fragrant grey-green leaves used in cooking and in perfumery
  • n. extremely pungent leaves used fresh or dried as seasoning for especially meats

Etymologies

Alteration of Middle English rosmarine, from Latin rōs marīnus, sea dew : rōs, dew + marīnus, of the sea; see marine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ros ("dew") marinus ("marine, of the sea") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Rosemary

    Beauty and Beauty's son and rosemary –
    Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly –
    born of the sea supposedly,
    at Christmas each, in company,
    braids a garland of festivity.
         Not always rosemary –

    since the flight to Egypt, blooming differently.
    With lancelike leaf, green but silver underneath,
    its flowers – white originally –
    turned blue. The herb of memory,
    imitating the blue robe of Mary,
         is not too legendary

    to flower both as symbol and as pungency.
    Springing from stones beside the sea,
    the height of Christ when thirty-three –
    not higher – it feeds on dew and to the bee
    "hath a dumb language"; is in reality
         a kind of Christmas tree.

    – Marianne Moore

    December 8, 2007