le·gume | \ ˈle-ˌgyüm , li-ˈgyüm \

Definition of legume 

1a : the fruit or seed of plants of the legume family (such as peas or beans) used for food

b : a vegetable used for food

2 : any of a large family (Leguminosae synonym Fabaceae, the legume family) of dicotyledonous herbs, shrubs, and trees having fruits that are legumes (sense 3) or loments, bearing nodules on the roots that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and including important food and forage plants (such as peas, beans, or clovers)

3 : a dry dehiscent one-celled fruit developed from a simple superior ovary and usually dehiscing into two valves with the seeds attached to the ventral suture : pod

Examples of legume in a Sentence

recipes that include legumes like lentils and chickpeas

Recent Examples on the Web

The safest and most nutritious staples for GF eaters are mostly whole, unprocessed foods, including beans, legumes, grain-like seeds like quinoa or millet, nuts, Greek yogurt, vegetables, and fruit. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "How to Tell If You Have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity," 21 May 2018 Iron is found in meat, fish, and other animal products, plus beans and legumes, so vegans and vegetarians might be more likely to be low in iron. Jane Chertoff, SELF, "This Is Why Your Eyebrows Are Thinner Than They Used to Be—and What to Do About It," 13 July 2018 Studies show that eating a vegan diet, chock-full of antioxidant- and fiber-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, may reduce your risk of cancer. NBC News, "Why Mark Bittman wants you to be a part-time vegan," 10 July 2018 Carolyn Murphy: The Alkaline Diet An alkaline diet, which limits acidic foods in an effort to alter the body’s pH level, is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes and low in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol. Elizabeth Inglese, Vogue, "Eat Like a Supermodel! 5 Healthy Food Plans Behind the World’s Best Bodies," 28 June 2018 Many Jews also forgo legumes and rice. Judith Klein Frimer’s Passover pizza. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "Goodbye Gefilte Fish! Hello Pizza! Passover Rebels Break With Tradition," 30 Mar. 2018 The government agency is investigating a potential link between pet foods with peas, lentils, potatoes and other legume seeds and instances of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs not typically vulnerable to the disease. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "Dog Heart Disease May Be Linked to Potato-Based Pet Food, FDA Says," 13 July 2018 In these cultures, and for vegetarians anywhere, people get protein nutrients other ways–from vegetables, grains, and legumes. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "In Defense of the Vegan Hot Dog," 4 July 2018 One species Ledford is up against is Sericea lespedeza, a flowering legume. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "From Defiled to Wild—Can a Spent Coal Mine Be Reborn as a Nature Conservation Center?," 11 July 2018

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

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for legume

French légume, from Latin legumin-, legumen leguminous plant, from legere to gather — more at legend

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Statistics for legume

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for legume

The first known use of legume was in 1676

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English Language Learners Definition of legume

: a type of plant (such as a pea or a bean plant) with seeds that grow in long cases (called pods); also : these seeds eaten as food


le·gume | \ ˈle-ˌgyüm \

Kids Definition of legume

: any of a large group of plants (as peas, beans, and clover) with fruits that are pods which split into two parts and root nodules containing bacteria that fix nitrogen


le·gume | \ ˈleg-ˌyüm , li-ˈgyüm \

Medical Definition of legume 

1 : the fruit or seed of leguminous plants (as peas or beans) used for food

2 : any plant of the family Leguminosae

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