- See under holly(def 1).
noun, plural hol·lies.
- any of numerous trees or shrubs of the genus Ilex, as I. opaca (American holly), the state tree of Delaware, or I. aquifolium (English holly), having glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries.
- the foliage and berries, used for decoration, especially during the Christmas season.
- Buddy. real name Charles Harden Holley. 1936–59, US rock-and-roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter. His hits (all 1956–59) include “That’ll be the Day”, “Maybe Baby”, “Peggy Sue”, “Oh, Boy”, “Think It Over”, and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”
noun plural -lies
- any tree or shrub of the genus Ilex, such as the Eurasian I. aquifolium, having bright red berries and shiny evergreen leaves with prickly edges
- branches of any of these trees, used for Christmas decorations
- holly oak another name for holm oak
mid-15c., earlier holin (mid-12c.), shortening of Old English holegn “holly,” from Proto-Germanic *hulin- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German hulis, Old Norse hulfr, Middle Dutch huls, Dutch, German hulst “holly”), cognate with Middle Irish cuilenn, Welsh celyn, Gaelic cuilionn “holly,” probably all from PIE root *kel- “to prick” (cf. Old Church Slavonic kolja “to prick,” Russian kolos “ear of corn”), in reference to its leaves. French houx “holly” is from Frankish *huls or some other Germanic source.