broc·​co·​li | \ˈbrä-kə-lē, ˈbrä-klē\

Definition of broccoli 

1 chiefly British : a large hardy cauliflower

2a : either of two garden vegetable plants closely related to the cabbage:

(1) : one with a thick central stem and a compact head of dense usually green florets that is classified with the cauliflower

(2) : one (Brassica oleracea italica) with slender stems and usually green or purple florets not arranged in a central head

b : the stems and immature florets of broccoli used as food

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

A fast-growing, upright, branched, annual plant, broccoli bears dense green clusters of edible flower buds. Native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, it was introduced to the US probably in colonial times. Broccoli thrives in moderate to cool climates. Its flavor resembles that of cabbage but is somewhat milder. It is one of the most broadly nutritious of all common vegetables and is a plant that is closely related to cabbage in the mustard family.

Examples of broccoli in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Or Gerald Ford without the malice, GW Bush, HW Bush, sorry, about the vicious hatred of broccoli. Fox News, "Gutfeld: The left is turning on the left," 15 Sep. 2018 Chinese violet cress is a member of the Brassica family, which includes mustard, broccoli, cabbage, and turnips. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "This Purple Plant Has a Secret That Could Replace Synthetic Engine Oil," 27 Aug. 2018 Nordic vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, roots and peas. NBC News, "What is the Nordic diet — and why do doctors, dietitians and even psychiatrists like it so much?," 22 June 2018 Lunch: hydrating chopped salad with greens, cucumbers, broccoli, basil, chopped chickpeas, hemp hearts & red wine vinaigrette. Julie Mazziotta,, "Daphne Oz Shares an Honest Look at Her 6-Month Postpartum Progress: 'New Week, New Commitment'," 19 June 2018 Other types that are easy to start from nursery seedlings include broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Sunset, "10 Fall Gardening Chores to Prep for Winter," 22 Jan. 2018 Finely chop stems of 1 bunch broccolini (about 7 ounces) or broccoli, and cut head into small florets. Eleanore Park, WSJ, "How to Win the Weekday Lunch Game," 30 Aug. 2018 Also, loads of broccoli, carrots mixed really finely. Fortune, "'He Can Spot Anything Cheap.' How Top Chefs Spoil Their Dogs," 23 June 2018 His tips: ▪ Look for Asian vegetables, particularly bitter melon, Chinese broccoli and pea shoots. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte has three great Chinese restaurants? Yes, and here's what to order at each," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'broccoli.' 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 broccoli

1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for broccoli

Italian, plural of broccolo flowering top of a cabbage, diminutive of brocco small nail, sprout

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about broccoli

Statistics for broccoli

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for broccoli

The first known use of broccoli was in 1699

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for broccoli


broc·​co·​li | \ˈbrä-kə-lē, ˈbrä-klē\

Kids Definition of broccoli

: a vegetable that has green stalks and green or purplish clustered flower buds

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on broccoli

Spanish Central: Translation of broccoli

Nglish: Translation of broccoli for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of broccoli for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about broccoli

Comments on broccoli

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


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

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

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!