noun \ˈle-ˌgyüm, li-ˈgyüm\

: a type of plant (such as a pea or a bean plant) with seeds that grow in long cases (called pods); also : these seeds eaten as food

Full Definition of LEGUME

a :  the fruit or seed of plants of the legume family (as peas or beans) used for food
b :  a vegetable used for food
:  any of a large family (Leguminosae syn. Fabaceae, the legume family) of dicotyledonous herbs, shrubs, and trees having fruits that are legumes (sense 3) or loments, bearing nodules on the roots that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and including important food and forage plants (as peas, beans, or clovers)
:  a dry dehiscent one-celled fruit developed from a simple superior ovary and usually dehiscing into two valves with the seeds attached to the ventral suture :  pod

Examples of LEGUME

  1. recipes that include legumes like lentils and chickpeas

Origin of LEGUME

French légume, from Latin legumin-, legumen leguminous plant, from legere to gather — more at legend
First Known Use: 1676

Other Food Terms

Reuben, calamari, chuck, curry, edamame, foie gras, hummus, leaven, nonpareil, peel


noun \ˈleg-ˌyüm, li-ˈgyüm\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of LEGUME

: the fruit or seed of leguminous plants (as peas or beans) used for food
: any plant of the family Leguminosae


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of about 200,000 species in about 700 genera of flowering plants that make up the order Fabales, consisting of the single family Fabaceae, or Leguminosae (the pea family). The term also refers to their characteristic fruit, also called a pod. Legumes are widespread on all habitable continents. Leaves of many members appear feathery, and flowers are almost universally showy. In economic importance, this order is surpassed only by the grass and sedge order (Cyperales). In the production of food, the legume family is the most important of any family. The pods are part of the diet of nearly all humans and supply most dietary protein in regions of high population density. In addition, legumes perform the invaluable act of nitrogen fixation. Because they contain many of the essential amino acids, legume seeds can balance the deficiencies of cereal protein. Legumes also provide edible oils, gums, fibres, and raw material for plastics; some are ornamentals. Included in this family are acacia, alfalfa, beans, broom, carob, clover, cowpea, lupine, mimosa, peas, peanuts, soybeans, tamarind, and vetch.


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