1 of 3

noun (1)

cab·​bage ˈka-bij How to pronounce cabbage (audio)
often attributive
: any of several brassicas (Brassica oleracea) of European origin
especially : a leafy garden plant (Brassica oleracea capitata) with a short stem and a dense globular head of usually green leaves that is used as a vegetable
: any of several plants related to or resembling cabbage
slang : money, cash
cabbagey adjective
or less commonly cabbagy


2 of 3

noun (2)

: pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites


3 of 3


cabbaged; cabbaging

transitive verb

: steal, filch
They also cabbaged our bats, balls, and gloves.H. L. Mencken

Did you know?

Cabbage, Not the Vegetable

Does the "filching" meaning of cabbage bring to mind an image of thieves sneaking out of farm fields with armloads of pilfered produce? If so, you're in for a surprise. This use has nothing to do with the leafy vegetable. It originally referred to the practice among tailors of pocketing part of the cloth given to them to make garments. The verb was cut from the same cloth as an older British noun cabbage, which meant "pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites." Both of those ethically questionable cabbages probably derived from cabas, the Middle French word for "cheating or theft." The cabbage found in coleslaw, on the other hand, comes from Middle English caboche, which meant "head."

Examples of cabbage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
May Help Reduce Cancer Risk Cucumbers contain a natural substance called lignans—like flax and sesame seeds, kale, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, apricots, and other plant foods. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Rd, Health, 18 Nov. 2023 Today, supplemental phosphatidylserine is mostly derived from plant sources, such as soy and cabbage. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 17 Oct. 2023 The crunchy red cabbage feels grounding and bright while the dates and pistachios give the salad plenty of heft. Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 Rapp’s bowl is made up of roasted tofu, cilantro, cucumbers, red onions, shredded cabbage, spicy broccoli and tomatoes on a spring mix bed and doused in Rapp’s favorite dressing. Sam Burros, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2023 However, although those numbers are for food overall, the likelihood of a person getting addicted to cabbage is pretty low. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune Well, 26 Oct. 2023 Part of the Brassica oleracea plant species—along with similar greens like cabbage or spinach—braised collard greens are a classic side dish with recipes passed down through generations of Southern cooks. Lisa Cericola, Southern Living, 25 Oct. 2023 Main dishes in 1941 included hot dogs with Liberty cabbage – actually sauerkraut, but the name was changed during the war due to its German connection. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 16 Oct. 2023 Slice chicken 1/2 inch thick and arrange over cabbage. America's Test Kitchen, Chicago Tribune, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English caboche, from Middle French dialect (Norman & Picard), literally, head, noggin

Noun (2)

perhaps by folk etymology from Middle French cabas cheating, theft

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1663, in the meaning defined above


1691, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cabbage was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near cabbage

Cite this Entry

“Cabbage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a garden plant related to the turnips and mustards that has a round firm head of leaves used as a vegetable

More from Merriam-Webster on cabbage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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