fen·nel | \ˈfe-nᵊl \

Definition of fennel 

1 : a perennial Eurasian herb (Foeniculum vulgare) that has clusters of small yellow flowers and aromatic leaves and seeds and includes several cultivated forms: such as

a : one (F. vulgare dulce) grown especially for its edible leaves and seeds that are used as a seasoning

b : florence fennel

2 : the edible parts (such as the seeds and leaves) of fennel

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Did You Know?

A perennial aromatic herb of the parsley family, fennel is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor and cultivated in the US, Britain, and temperate areas of Eurasia. The blanched shoots are eaten as a vegetable. The greenish brown to yellowish brown oblong-oval seeds smell and taste similar to anise. The seeds and extracted oil are used for scenting soaps and perfumes and for flavoring candies, liqueurs, medicines, and foods, particularly pastries, sweet pickles, and fish.

Examples of fennel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For dressing: In a glass measuring cup, combine wine vinegar, oil, garlic, fennel, pepper, sugar, salt, basil and celery seed. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Green and black olives mingle in Elegant Farmer's salad," 21 May 2018 For the nicoise-style soup, fresh fennel, leek and crisp, white onions are sauteed in good French olive oil. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "2 do-ahead fish soup bases make for easy dinner parties — just add garnishes at the end," 6 Feb. 2018 To assemble and dress the salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the fennel, onion, if using, and cucumbers with the reserved basil chiffonade, sliced peppers and remaining Early Girl tomatoes. Sarah Fritsche, SFChronicle.com, "Recipe: Melissa Perello’s Summer Stone Fruit & Tomato Panzanella," 3 July 2018 Add fennel, chickpeas, roasted red pepper, olives, dill, and shallot and toss to coat. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Veggie Niçoise Pitas," 21 June 2018 On my recent visit last week, the chop was paired with butter beans, kale pistou, roasted broccoli Romanesco, orange pork jus and fennel pollen. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Prospect in San Francisco: Urban, sleek and sophisticated," 29 Jan. 2018 Brush steak with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle fennel mixture on both sides. Redbook, "Herb-Crusted Steak With Smashed Potatoes," 18 Sep. 2012 Simple pastas dressed with vegetables, fennel au gratin, typically soupy risottos, a zucchini and mint frittata, and peaches in amaretto syrup are some standouts, and her fig-and-mascarpone cake, and pine nut-and-custard tart are first-rate. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Venice, Without the Tourists," 2 July 2018 Lime Tartlets with Orange Blossom Cream and Toasted Fennel Emily Rosenberg, a pastry sous chef at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, added toasted fennel seeds to give the tart a subtle crunch. Sunset, "How to Throw an Elegant Hawaiian Feast," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fennel.' 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 fennel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fennel

Middle English fenel, from Old English finugl, from Vulgar Latin *fenuculum, from Latin feniculum fennel, irregular diminutive of fenum hay

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Dictionary Entries near fennel






fennel seed

fennel water

Statistics for fennel

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for fennel

The first known use of fennel was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for fennel


fen·nel | \ˈfen-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of fennel 

: a perennial European herb (Foeniculum vulgare) of the carrot family (Umbelliferae) introduced into North America and cultivated for its aromatic seeds and its foliage

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Comments on fennel

What made you want to look up fennel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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