as·​par·​a·​gus | \ ə-ˈsper-ə-gəs How to pronounce asparagus (audio) , -ˈspa-rə-\
plural asparagus

Definition of asparagus

: 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

Illustration of asparagus

Illustration of asparagus

Examples of asparagus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In a large bowl, toss the asparagus in oil to coat. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Parmesan Roasted Asparagus," 10 Apr. 2019 Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling water until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Bon Appetit, "Miso-Tahini Noodles with Asparagus and Tofu," 14 May 2018 At the same time, in a large skillet, sauté asparagus in olive oil about 8 minutes. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2018 farmers markets in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin," 1 May 2018 Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator to preserve its tenderness and natural sweetness. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Healthy Table: Load up on asparagus for its healthy dose of folate and antioxidants," 15 Apr. 2018 For a sharable main course, try wide ribbons of pappardelle, mushroom and asparagus in cream sauce, with a runny egg yolk. Linda Bladholm, miamiherald, "Argentine and Spanish dishes in a Balinese setting set this Bal Harbor restaurant apart | Miami Herald," 5 Apr. 2018 Arrange asparagus in single layer, all parallel to one another, on a broiler pan. Ann Maloney,, "3 seafood dishes for Lent from Tom Fitzmorris' reissued 'New Orleans Food'," 20 Feb. 2018 Place the asparagus in ice water to shock for about one minute. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "This new restaurant in Germantown comes from a long line of Louisville Italian royalty," 2 Jan. 2018 The entrée was a choice between lamb with asparagus or seabass with pistachio, followed by an assortment of mini desserts. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Epic Lake Como Wedding Had It All: An Alta Moda Photoshoot, Fireworks, and a Surprise Opera," 11 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of asparagus

1543, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for asparagus

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about asparagus

Statistics for asparagus

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for asparagus

The first known use of asparagus was in 1543

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for asparagus



English Language Learners Definition of asparagus

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


as·​par·​a·​gus | \ ə-ˈsper-ə-gəs How to pronounce asparagus (audio) \

Kids Definition of asparagus

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


as·​par·​a·​gus | \ ə-ˈspar-ə-gəs How to pronounce asparagus (audio) \

Medical Definition of asparagus

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on asparagus

Spanish Central: Translation of asparagus

Nglish: Translation of asparagus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about asparagus

Comments on asparagus

What made you want to look up asparagus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!