noun \tə-ˈmā-(ˌ)tō; chiefly British, eNewEng, neVirginia, and sometimes elsewhere in cultivated speech -ˈmä-; chiefly Northern -ˈma-\

: a round, soft, red fruit that is eaten raw or cooked and that is often used in salads, sandwiches, sauces, etc.

plural to·ma·toes

Full Definition of TOMATO

:  the usually large rounded typically red or yellow pulpy berry of an herb (genus Lycopersicon) of the nightshade family native to South America
:  a plant that produces tomatoes; especially :  one (Lycopersicon esculentum syn. L. lycopersicum) that is a tender perennial widely cultivated as an annual for its edible fruit

Origin of TOMATO

alteration of earlier tomate, from Spanish, from Nahuatl tomatl
First Known Use: 1604

Other Food Terms

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

Rhymes with TOMATO


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).—Grant Heilman Photography

Any fruit of the numerous cultivated varieties of Solanum lycopersicum (formerly Lycopersicon esculentum), a plant of the nightshade family. The plant is generally much branched and has hairy, strongly odorous, feathery leaves. The drooping, clustered, yellow flowers are followed by red, scarlet, or yellow fruits, which hang from the many branches of one weak stem. The tomato fruit varies in shape from spherical to elongate and in size from 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) across to more than 3 in. (7.5 cm) across. The Spanish were bringing tomatoes from South America to Europe by the early 16th century; they were introduced to North America from Europe by the 1780s. Tomatoes are used raw, cooked as a vegetable or puree, and pickled, canned, and sun-dried. The term also applies to the fruit of S. pimpinellifolium, the tiny currant tomato.


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