\ˈhemp \

Definition of hemp 

1a : a tall widely cultivated Asian herb (Cannabis sativa of the family Cannabaceae, the hemp family) that is cultivated for its tough bast fiber and edible seeds and oil and that is often separated into a tall loosely branched species (C. sativa) and a low-growing densely branched species (C. indica)

Note: Cultivated hemp is often distinguished from cannabis by possessing very low levels of the psychoactive substance THC.

b : the fiber of hemp hemp can produce superb paper and construction materials lighter and stronger than lumber.— Ted Williams often used before another noun hemp ropea hemp shirt

c : marijuana also : hashish

2 : a fiber (such as jute) from a plant other than the true hemp also : a plant yielding such fiber

Examples of hemp in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

People are surprised to know that animals have an endo-cannabinoid system, too, and that hemp and cannabis work the same way for them. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "Down to Business: West Dundee center helps clients learn about hemp-based products, apply for medical cannabis," 11 July 2018 While all fiber is good, here are some great prebiotic fiber sources: Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, and leeks, as well as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. Liz Krieger, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New Way to Lose Weight Involves Healing Your Gut," 26 June 2017 The Department of Agriculture handles research grants and pilot programs for hemp, but that’s where its involvement ends. Dan Nosowitz, Vox, "The super-popular cannabis compound, explained.," 1 Nov. 2018 For those with combination skin that can be frustratingly oily and dry at the same time, Origins latest formula quenches with cannabis sativa seed oil from hemp and a calming, cooling texture. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "10 Face Masks for Happier Skin Right Now," 28 Sep. 2018 The steel-cable Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally built in 1889 of hemp rope and cedar stumps across an immense canyon. Jamie Moore, USA TODAY, "The world’s 10 most amazing suspension bridges," 26 Apr. 2018 Seed brittle Makes 1 quart 120 mL water 200 grams granulated sugar 160 grams light corn syrup 100 grams (mixed) of sunflower seeds, hemp hearts and sesame seeds 1 teaspoon baking soda In a saucepan, bring water, sugar and syrup to 225 degrees. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Rye's chef goes for bold flavors (like this paprika octopus) but keeps the menu simple," 17 Apr. 2018 Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the bill also includes a measure to legalize industrial hemp. Juliet Linderman, BostonGlobe.com, "Senate unveils farm bill, leaves food stamps alone," 8 June 2018 Now some states are permitted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Christy Brissette, chicagotribune.com, "Milk, bread, hemp oil? On 4/20, a dietitian's guide to the cannabis items in your grocery store," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hemp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hemp

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

History and Etymology for hemp

Middle English, from Old English hænep; akin to Old High German hanaf hemp, Greek kannabis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hemp

Statistics for hemp

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hemp

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hemp



English Language Learners Definition of hemp

: a plant that is used to make thick ropes and some drugs (such as hashish and marijuana)


\ˈhemp \

Kids Definition of hemp

: a tall Asian plant grown for its tough woody fiber that is used especially in making rope and for its flowers and leaves that yield drugs (as marijuana)


\ˈhemp \

Medical Definition of hemp 

1 : a tall widely cultivated Asian herb of the genus Cannabis (C. sativa) with strong woody fiber used especially for cordage

2 : the fiber of hemp

3 : a psychoactive drug (as marijuana or hashish) from hemp

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hemp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hemp

Spanish Central: Translation of hemp

Nglish: Translation of hemp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hemp for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hemp

Comments on hemp

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


a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!