Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of numerous evergreen or deciduous trees or shrubs of the genus Ilex, especially several species having bright red berries and glossy evergreen leaves with spiny margins.
  • noun Branches of these plants, traditionally used for Christmas decoration.
  • noun Any of various similar or related plants.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • An obsolete spelling of wholly.
  • noun In Tasmania, a shrub of the madder family, Coprosma hirtella. See coffee-berry, 2.
  • noun A plant of the genus Ilex, natural order Ilicineæ.
  • noun The holm-oak, Quercus Ilex, an evergreen oak. Often called holly-oak.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A tree or shrub of the genus Ilex. The European species (Ilex Aquifolium) is best known, having glossy green leaves, with a spiny, waved edge, and bearing berries that turn red or yellow about Michaelmas.
  • noun (Bot.) The holm oak. See 1st Holm.
  • noun (Bot.) the black scrub oak. See Scrub oak.
  • noun (Bot.) a West Indian shrub, with showy, yellow flowers (Turnera ulmifolia).
  • noun (Bot.) a species of Eryngium. See Eryngium.
  • adverb obsolete Wholly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of various shrubs or (mostly) small trees, of the genus Ilex, either evergreen or deciduous, used as decoration especially at Christmas.
  • noun The wood from this tree.
  • noun Any of several unrelated plant species likened to Ilex because of their prickly, evergreen foliage and/or round, bright-red berries

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

  • noun any tree or shrub of the genus Ilex having red berries and shiny evergreen leaves with prickly edges
  • noun United States rock star (1936-1959)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English holin, holi, from Old English holen.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English holly, holi, holie, a shortened variation of holin, holyn (> English dialectal hollen, holm), from Old English holeġn, holen ("holly; prince, protector"), from Proto-Germanic *hulisaz (“butcher's broom”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱol- (“thorn, awn; a kind of thorny plant; prickly”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (“to cut”). Cognate with Scots holin, hollin, holyn ("holly"), Dutch hulst ("holly"), German Hulst ("holly"), French houx ("holly" < Germanic), Danish hylver ("holly"), Welsh celyn ("holly"), Russian  (kolos, "ear of wheat"), Albanian kallí 'straw, chaff', Sanskrit kaţambá 'arrow', Old Church Slavonic kolja 'to prick'.

Examples

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Holly Holy is a song by Neil Diamond that went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969.

    February 9, 2008

  • Have a holly, jolly Christmas. It means "Have a wholly jolly Christmas" (Holly is used as the adverb form, which means "wholly; entirely").

    January 24, 2018