broc·​co·​li | \ ˈbrä-kə-lē How to pronounce broccoli (audio) , 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 Farmworkers here pull from the ground the lettuce and broccoli that end up on dinner plates across America. USA Today, "Worked to death: Latino farmworkers have long been denied basic rights. COVID-19 showed how deadly racism could be.," 22 Oct. 2020 Add the broccoli to the saucepan and continue to boil 2 minutes. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Lemon, garlic sauce, rosemary make flavorful fish dish," 25 Sep. 2020 Enjoy sautéed broccoli alone or as part of a vegetable stir-fry. Move over collards and turnip greens, this green vegetable deserves a spot on the table. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "How To Cook Broccoli," 18 Sep. 2020 Before being released, Halloumi, a voracious eater, consumed a steady diet of vegetables and mixed greens, with a preference for broccoli and zucchini, the aquarium said. Eric Todisco,, "3 Sea Turtles Make a Happy Return to the Ocean After Rehab at Baltimore's National Aquarium," 15 Sep. 2020 Popular items such as General Tso’s chicken, fried rice, and beef with broccoli are still on the menu, but new are the boils with shrimp, snow crab legs, mussels, squid, lobster tail, clams and crawfish. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "Downtown Chinese restaurant reopens, adds Cajun food to menu," 7 Aug. 2020 Accompaniments include maple sweet mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and sautéed broccoli. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Arizona Restaurant Week Spring 2020: Here are 15 great menus to try for dine-in or takeout," 14 June 2020 Add carrots, broccoli and cabbage and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes adding water as needed. Maya Feller, NBC News, "5 meals to make under lockdown that are inexpensive, delicious and healthy," 13 May 2020 Chop up cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, snap peas and carrots for this little number. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "6 green salads for a touch of spring cheer," 16 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler for broccoli

Time Traveler

The first known use of broccoli was in 1699

See more words from the same year

Statistics for broccoli

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Broccoli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for broccoli


broc·​co·​li | \ ˈbrä-kə-lē How to pronounce broccoli (audio) , 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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!