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

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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 Traditionally, this tasty combo is made with Chinese broccoli, but because her family loves the Western tree-shape variety so much, Pepper adapted the recipe. Jenny Comita, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 July 2021 Steam Chinese broccoli very quickly and plunge into ice bath to chill. Karena Armstrong, WSJ, 25 June 2021 Cook the broccoli, turning the pieces every 2 minutes or so, until they are nicely charred and tender, about 8 minutes. Dallas News, 21 June 2021 There’s a pizza empanada, with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, a Hawaiian empanada with ham and pineapple, a cheesesteak with peppers and onions, and a teriyaki with chicken and broccoli, among many others. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 21 May 2021 When local produce ran out, cooks routinely bought supermarket ingredients, like beets and broccoli, that were then passed off as grown or gathered on Lummi. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2021 This week is a great one for starting a few tomatoes and some broccoli. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Apr. 2021 Use another favorite vegetable, such as fresh or frozen broccoli. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2021 Add broccoli and cook, covered until bright green and just barely tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, 3 Mar. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for broccoli

Time Traveler

The first known use of broccoli was in 1699

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Dictionary Entries Near broccoli



broccoli brown

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Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Broccoli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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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

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


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