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

What was around were legumes, produce and anything that could be foraged or hunted. Amanda Cargill, Smithsonian, "What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?," 3 July 2018 Nuts, seeds and legumes (beans, peas, lentils and soybeans) are great alternatives to meat and poultry. Maria Conley, Detroit Free Press, "Inflammation and your diet: What’s the connection?," 4 June 2018 The crop can be quite happy growing with a legume like hairy vetch or crimson clover. Sunset, "Top 10 Cover Crops for Your Fall Garden," 22 Jan. 2018 After harvest, remove and destroy all plant debris that may be infected. Bacterial Blight: This bacterial disease is particularly severe on legumes in eastern and southern North America. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthy Food By Identifying + Treating These Common Plant Diseases," 21 July 2015 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

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

28 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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Comments on legume

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by force of circumstances

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