noun, often attributive
\ˈfüd \

Definition of food 

1a : material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy also : such food together with supplementary substances (such as minerals, vitamins, and condiments) drought victims who don't have enough food to eat

b : inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution

2 : nutriment in solid form She gave food and drink to the hungry travelers.

3 : something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies food for thought Books were his mental food.

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Other Words from food

foodless \ˈfüd-​ləs \ adjective
foodlessness noun

Synonyms for food


bread, chow, chuck [chiefly West], comestibles, eatables, eats, edibles, fare, foodstuffs, grub, meat, provender, provisions, table, tucker [chiefly Australian], viands, victuals, vittles

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Examples of food in a Sentence

a farmer who grows his own food drought victims who don't have enough food to eat She gave food and drink to the hungry travelers. What is your favorite food? fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods
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Recent Examples on the Web

The administration broadens the current definition to noncash assistance for food, housing and health care, which immigrants can legally use, and would apply not just to people currently in the country but those seeking to enter legally. Alex Leary, WSJ, "Business Leaders Voice Concern About Trump Plan to Crack Down on Immigrants Using Public Benefits," 6 Dec. 2018 On top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will be one of the company’s Dragon cargo capsules, filled with 5,600 pounds of food, water, supplies, and experiments for the six-member crew of the ISS. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch SpaceX launch thousands of pounds of cargo and experiments to the International Space Station," 5 Dec. 2018 The mission's one-day delay was due to a curiosity—moldy mouse food. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Mice Delayed Today's SpaceX Launch," 5 Dec. 2018 Everyone loves free food, and the company might be a welcome mood boost. Emily Chiu, Redbook, "6 Simple Things That Help Me Deal With Holiday Depression," 29 Nov. 2018 Every Friday, this European market comes to Denver to celebrate Christmas—get ready for traditional German drinks, food, dancing, and live entertainment. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Denver in December 2018," 29 Nov. 2018 The food at Mattie's at Green Pastures in Austin, Texas is Southern fare with modern twists on classic cocktails. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Sprawling House In Texas Now Houses A Gorgeous Restaurant," 20 Nov. 2018 Netflix Dinner Order cheeseburgers, donuts, Chinese food, pizza and try to finish a new mini-series in one night. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "14 Cheap Valentine's Day Date Ideas That Are Actually Fun," 19 Nov. 2018 Amazingly relatable comments that Kelly Clarkson made about food, Adam Levine's questionable habit, and a romantic gesture by Blake Shelton are just a few moments from recent episodes that have fired up viewers. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Contestant Anthony Arya Stunned Coaches With This Controversial Comment," 6 Nov. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for food

Middle English fode, from Old English fōda; akin to Old High German fuotar food, fodder, Latin panis bread, pascere to feed

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Learn More about food

Dictionary Entries near food


font name



food ball

food bank


Statistics for food

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for food

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

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More Definitions for food



English Language Learners Definition of food

: the things that people and animals eat

: a particular kind of food

: substances taken in by plants and used for growth


\ˈfüd \

Kids Definition of food

1 : the material that people and animals eat : material containing carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and supplements (as minerals and vitamins) that is taken in by and used in the living body for growth and repair and as a source of energy for activities

2 : inorganic substances (as nitrate and carbon dioxide) taken in by green plants and used to build organic nutrients

3 : organic materials (as sugar and starch) formed by plants and used in their growth and activities

4 : solid food as distinguished from drink


noun, often attributive
\ˈfüd \

Medical Definition of food 

1 : material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy also : such material together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)

2 : nutriment in solid form

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More from Merriam-Webster on food

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with food

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for food

Spanish Central: Translation of food

Nglish: Translation of food for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of food for Arabic Speakers

Comments on food

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


a nest or breeding place

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