broc·​co·​li ˈbrä-kə-lē How to pronounce broccoli (audio)
chiefly British : a large hardy cauliflower
: either of two garden vegetable plants closely related to the cabbage:
: one with a thick central stem and a compact head of dense usually green florets that is classified with the cauliflower
: one (Brassica oleracea italica) with slender stems and usually green or purple florets not arranged in a central head
: the stems and immature florets of broccoli used as food

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 Southern Living Member Serve with green beans or broccoli. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 12 Nov. 2023 And finding motivation to be healthy is getting even harder as broccoli, cauliflower, and celery prices are up 25%. Alice Barlow, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2023 He’s also come up with my new favorite way to eat broccoli: tossed in a sweet, tangy dressing of date syrup, pomegranate molasses, and za’atar. Genevieve Yam, Bon Appétit, 17 Oct. 2023 The salad is made up of Sweetgreen’s new tender herb roasted chicken, alongside a double scoop of wild rice, hot roasted sweet potatoes, creamy veg slaw, spicy broccoli, Sweetgreen’s housemade hot sauce Hot Stuff, and better-for-you BBQ sauce. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 9 Nov. 2023 Not only do the thin stems cook quicker than their bulkier cousin, but there's also very little waste when compared to a whole head of broccoli. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 6 Nov. 2023 Plant now from seed or seedlings: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, peas, leeks, fava beans. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Nov. 2023 My mom makes steak tips and mushrooms in brown gravy with roasted broccoli and polenta. Bon Appétit Contributor, Bon Appétit, 2 Nov. 2023 The first is sesame tofu with broccoli, which is kind of a bit of a stir fry of sorts. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'broccoli.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of broccoli was in 1699

Dictionary Entries Near broccoli

Cite this Entry

“Broccoli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


broc·​co·​li ˈbräk-(ə-)lē How to pronounce broccoli (audio)
: an open branching form of cauliflower that bears young flowering shoots used as a vegetable

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