bas·il / ˈbāzəl; ˈbazəl/ • n. an aromatic annual herb of the mint family, native to tropical Asia. • Genus Ocimum, family Labiatae: several species, in particular the common sweet basil (O. basilicum) and the low-growing, compact bush basil O. minimum. ∎ the leaves of this plant used as a culinary herb, esp. in Mediterranean dishes.
Recorded from late Middle English, the name comes via Old French and medieval Latin from Greek basilikos ‘royal’ (see basilica), perhaps because the plant was used in some royal unguent or medicine. In Latin, the name was confused with basiliscus, on the supposition that the plant was an antidote to the poison of a basilisk.
Basil ★★½ 1998 (R)
Turn of the century English aristocrat Basil (Leto) strives for the approval of his overbearing father (Jacobi) while also trying to please the selfish woman he loves (Forlani). Based on the novel by Wilkie Collins. 113m/C VHS . Jared Leto, Claire Forlani, Christian Slater, Derek Jacobi; D: Radha Bharadwaj.