for·​age | \ ˈfȯr-ij How to pronounce forage (audio) , ˈfär-\

Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : food for animals especially when taken by browsing or grazing The grass serves as forage for livestock.
2 [ 2forage ] : the act of foraging : search for provisions They made forages to find food.


foraged; foraging

Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strip of provisions : collect forage from
2 : to secure by foraging foraged a chicken for the feast

intransitive verb

1 : to wander in search of forage or food
2 : to secure forage (as for horses) by stripping the country
3 : ravage, raid
4 : to make a search : rummage

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Other Words from forage


forager noun

Synonyms for forage

Synonyms: Verb

browse, graze, pasture, rustle

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Examples of forage in a Sentence


The grass serves as forage for livestock.


The cows were foraging in the pasture. He had to forage for firewood.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the Hardie Summer allotment, there’s plenty of forage, including grasses and flowering pants, for both cows and birds. Maxine Bernstein,, "Judge won’t rule until July 17 on request to bar further grazing by Hammond Ranches Inc.," 28 June 2019 One day, a fleet of bees equipped with these sensors could help farmers monitor the health of their crops, and give biologists insights into how bees forage for food, find pollen and navigate through the environment. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "Backpack-wearing bumblebees could buzz fields, tell farmers how crops are doing," 13 Dec. 2018 But small differences in how ants respond to interactions can add up to big differences in how colonies forage, which in turn affects how many offspring colonies have. Quanta Magazine, "Decoding the Remarkable Algorithms of Ants," 25 June 2015 The pasture has been beaten to hell by the animals, requiring in spring, summer, and fall a constant upkeep of irrigation to maintain the grass for forage. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 And any poults that did result from rare successful nests faced a dry landscape that was lacking abundant insects for forage and grasses or other vegetation for cover from predators and Texas’ scorching summer sun. Shannon Tompkins,, "Texas turkeys thriving after mild, wet spring," 8 June 2019 Tropic birds, shearwaters, petrels, terns, boobies, and other birds of the open ocean roost and forage on sargassum mats. David Doubilet, National Geographic, "Life in the North Atlantic depends on this floating seaweed," 12 June 2019 Only after an animal was hazed repeatedly and returned to forage could it be killed, and then only between January 1 and May 31. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 Back-to-back dry springs meant the ground-nesting turkeys in much of Texas went into the mating season in relatively poor physical condition because of a lack of abundant forage — mainly cool-season forbs and other high-nutrient foods. Shannon Tompkins,, "Texas turkeys thriving after mild, wet spring," 8 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Irv Erdos’ weekly humor column, Ham on Wry A small controversy arose over a recent story in the Union-Tribune about foraging in the wild. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego’s attractions are a delicious adventure," 7 July 2019 So far this year, elevated levels of the harmful toxins have been found in shellfish foraged from Southeast Alaska to the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Kodiak Island, McLaughlin said. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Eating shellfish you’ve harvested yourself is risky - and can be deadly," 6 July 2019 This pattern can be found scattered throughout nature and structural engineering: in the brain’s cerebral vasculature, arrays of fungi living underground, the convoluted shape of a foraging slime mold and the metal bracings of the Eiffel Tower. Quanta Magazine, "In Natural Networks, Strength in Loops," 14 Aug. 2013 Regan’s award-winning fine dining and foraged focused restaurant Elizabeth in Lincoln Squareand new Milkweed Inn in rural Michigan will remain open. Louisa Chu,, "Highly lauded Kitsune restaurant closing; newly relaunched Bunny bakery already closed," 27 June 2019 The Galiano Conservancy holds events frequently, including beekeeping workshops, foraging workshops, and eco-safaris for school-age students. Lauren Eckert, National Geographic, "See Vancouver like a Nat Geo Explorer," 27 June 2019 His company, Odd Produce, provides locally sourced, farmed and foraged produce to some of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Myrna Petlicki,, "Skokie native turned his interest in mushroom foraging into growing career," 7 June 2019 Seabird experts wonder if toxins played a role in recent seabird deaths by affecting their ability to forage. Dan Joling, The Seattle Times, "Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists," 16 Apr. 2019 Untouched were the groves of holm oaks where, in the winter, porco preto, the black pigs who forage and feed on acorns, make the penultimate stop on their path to becoming some of the world’s best pork and ham. Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "Vacation in Portugal the Less-Obvious Way," 10 Aug. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for forage

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from fuerre, foer fodder, straw, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German fuotar food, fodder — more at food

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Statistics for forage

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forage

The first known use of forage was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for forage



English Language Learners Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: grasses and other plants that are eaten by animals (such as cows)



English Language Learners Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

of an animal : to eat growing grass or other plants
: to search for something (such as food or supplies)


for·​age | \ ˈfȯr-ij How to pronounce forage (audio) \

Kids Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: food (as grass) for browsing or grazing animals


foraged; foraging

Kids Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to nibble or eat grass or other plants Cows foraged in the field.
2 : search entry 1 sense 1 We foraged for firewood.

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More from Merriam-Webster on forage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forage

Spanish Central: Translation of forage

Nglish: Translation of forage for Spanish Speakers

Comments on forage

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


something desired as essential

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