fen·​nel ˈfe-nᵊl How to pronounce fennel (audio)
: 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
: one (F. vulgare dulce) grown especially for its edible leaves and seeds that are used as a seasoning
: the edible parts (such as the seeds and leaves) of fennel

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 Try adding spices like coriander or other sweetly aromatic veggies like fennel to build a simple stock with a uniquely mildly sweet yet peppery flavor profile. Catherine Jessee, Southern Living, 4 July 2024 Options include Sicilian tuna salad with marinated fennel and preserved lemon; chive goat cheese with mango-and-jalapeño jam, apples and cucumber; and smoked turkey with roasted red pepper, smoked Gouda, onion marmalade and chipotle mayo. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2024 According to the brand, the result is a bourbon with brown sugar and fig on the nose; mint, brown sugar, fennel, and candied pecans on the palate; and warm rye spice and cinnamon on the finish. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 26 June 2024 The designer also worked his signature sawtooth stripe into fabrics and created a wallpaper mural called Pygmalion, a grand, theatrical design with curtains, a classical temple, giant artichokes, Rococo dolphins, fennel, garlic bulbs and mollusk shells, strings of pearls and feathers. Samantha Conti, WWD, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for fennel 

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near fennel

Cite this Entry

“Fennel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fennel. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


fen·​nel ˈfen-ᵊl How to pronounce fennel (audio)
: a garden plant related to the carrot that is grown for its fragrant seeds and needle-shaped leaflets

Medical Definition


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

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!