asparagus

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noun as·par·a·gus \ə-ˈsper-ə-gəs, -ˈspa-rə-\

Definition of asparagus

plural

asparagus

  1. :  any of a genus (Asparagus) of Old World perennial plants of the lily family having much-branched stems, minute scalelike leaves, and narrow usually filiform branchlets that function as leaves; especially :  one (A. officinalis) widely cultivated for its edible young shoots

Recent Examples of asparagus from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asparagus'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Illustration of asparagus

Origin and Etymology of asparagus

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, asparagus plant, from Greek asparagos; perhaps akin to Greek spargan to swell


ASPARAGUS Defined for English Language Learners

asparagus

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noun

Definition of asparagus for English Language Learners

  • : a plant with long green stems and tiny leaves at one end that is cooked and eaten as a vegetable


ASPARAGUS Defined for Kids

asparagus

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noun as·par·a·gus \ə-ˈsper-ə-gəs\

Definition of asparagus for Students

  1. :  a vegetable that is the young shoots of a garden plant related to the lilies that lives for many years

History for asparagus

The word asparagus is borrowed from the ancient Greeks' name for the plant, asparagos, which could also just refer to the young shoot of any plant. This word is probably related to a Greek verb spharageitai, meaning “it's full to bursting,” which might describe a fast-growing plant shoot. But to English speakers the word has sometimes seemed odd and a little difficult to say. In the American countryside people have turned asparagus into “aspergrass” or “aspirin grass” or—the most popular—“sparrow grass.” These expressions are easier to say and tickle our sense of humor a bit.


Medical Dictionary

asparagus

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noun as·par·a·gus \ə-ˈspar-ə-gəs\

Medical Definition of asparagus

  1. 1 capitalized :  a genus of Old World perennial herbs of the lily family (Liliaceae) having erect much-branched stems, minute scalelike leaves, and narrow filiform branchlets that function as leaves

  2. 2a:  any plant of the genus Asparagus; especially :  a plant (A. officinalis) widely cultivated for its tender edible young shootsb:  the root of cultivated asparagus formerly used as a diuretic

Illustration of asparagus


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