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

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

Here are four more examples: McDonald's During the 1984 Olympics, the fast food giant ran a promotional campaign featuring scratch-off tickets. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Build-a-Bear blunder: Other company promotions that epically failed," 13 July 2018 That's the current situation in Green Township, where a tsunami of sit-down and fast-food restaurants has descended on the community. Mallorie Sullivan,, "3 headlines: Cincinnati makes Kesha cry, Big Red Machine and lots of new food," 13 July 2018 But the perception that the cuisine at fast casual establishments is healthier than fast food may or may not be accurate., "The 4 Healthiest Menu Items at Panera Bread (Plus 3 Things to Avoid)," 13 July 2018 Seven major restaurant chains, including Arby’s, Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s and Jimmy John’s, have agreed to drop a hiring practice that critics say may be keeping tens of thousands of fast-food workers locked in low-wage jobs. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Mnuchin is in denial about the pain Trump's tariffs are inducing," 13 July 2018 Ferguson said his office began investigating early this year, prompted by a New York Times article detailing how such policies had stifled wages for fast-food workers. Gene Johnson,, "Fast-food chains agree to end ‘no-poaching’ policies," 12 July 2018 Plastics were growing increasingly cheap to produce at this time and so too were fast-food meals, each of them accompanied by sodas in to-go cups with crosshairs that easily tore apart flimsier paper straws. Emelyn Rude, Time, "The Backlash Against Plastic Straws Is Spreading. Here’s How They Got So Popular in the First Place," 12 July 2018 The four young fast-food workers were abducted from a Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway Nov. 17, 1978. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "GoFundMe launched for 1978 Speedway Burger Chef murder victims tribute," 11 July 2018 John Schnatter remains more closely associated with a fast-food brand than any living person since Harland Sanders of KFC fame. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Papa John’s Founder Fumbles the Ball Again," 11 July 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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Dictionary Entries near food


font name



food ball

food bank


Statistics for food

Last Updated

17 Oct 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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Comments on food

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