rosemary

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun an aromatic herb (Rosemarinus officinalis) used for flavouring and also as a source of oil used in soaps and cosmetics

Food

  • An evergreen perennial shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, with woody upright stems and thin pointed aromatic leaves which grows in temperate and Mediterranean climates. Used to flavour meat dishes especially lamb and strong-flavoured soups. A twig of rosemary is often laid on fish or meat as it is being cooked.

Origin & History of “rosemary”

Originally, rosemary had no connection with either ‘roses’ or ‘Mary’. Etymologically it means ‘sea-dew’. It comes, probably via Old French rosmarin, from late Latin rōsmarīnum. this in turn was a conflation of Latin rōs marīnus, rōs meaning ‘dew’ and marīnus ‘of the sea’ (an allusion to the fact that the plant grew near sea coasts). The word originally entered English in the 14th century as rosmarine, but association with rose and Mary (the virgin Mary, no doubt) led to its alteration to rosemary.
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