fen·​nel | \ ˈfe-nᵊl How to pronounce fennel (audio) \

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

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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 The company started its operations focused on saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, and has since expanded into carrying black cumin, coriander and fennel. Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2021 Add the fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2021 Sprinkle both sides of the chops with some of the fennel fronds, rosemary, and 2 sage leaves on each side. Star Tribune, 8 Jan. 2021 Our homemade chili crisp includes ginger and star anise, but fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, or cumin seeds would also work wonderfully. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 July 2021 To prepare the mussel salad: Working over a large bowl and using a mandoline, thinly shave the fennel starting at the bottom of the bulb and working your way toward the fronds. Dallas News, 21 June 2021 In a large mixing bowl, toss together the arugula, spinach and shaved fennel. Abigail Abesamis Demarest, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Nest, where Kodiak scallops are served with fennel cream, chorizo, and sweet corn succotash made with brown butter and tarragon. Mara Severin, Anchorage Daily News, 27 June 2021 Fennel pollen is dusted over the whole dish, lending it a light, floral aroma familiar to anyone who’s run their fingers through the wild fennel patches that proliferate all over Northern California. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 June 2021

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 at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fennel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fennel. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for fennel


fen·​nel | \ ˈfen-ᵊl How to pronounce fennel (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on fennel

Nglish: Translation of fennel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fennel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fennel


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