noun (1), often attributive
cab·​bage | \ ˈka-bij How to pronounce cabbage (audio) \

Definition of cabbage

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
b : any of several plants related to or resembling cabbage
2 slang : money, cash


noun (2)

Definition of cabbage (Entry 2 of 3)

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


cabbaged; cabbaging

Definition of cabbage (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from cabbage

Noun (1)

cabbagey or less commonly cabbagy \ ˈka-​bə-​jē How to pronounce cabbage (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cabbage

Synonyms: Noun (1)

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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. Today's featured word 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."

First Known Use of cabbage

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

History and Etymology for cabbage

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

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Time Traveler for cabbage

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Cabbage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for cabbage


cab·​bage | \ ˈka-bij How to pronounce cabbage (audio) \

Kids Definition of cabbage

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

More from Merriam-Webster on cabbage

Nglish: Translation of cabbage for Spanish Speakers

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


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