mac·​ro·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌma-krō-bī-ˈä-tik How to pronounce macrobiotic (audio) , -bē- \

Definition of macrobiotic

: of, relating to, or being a diet based on the Chinese cosmological principles of yin and yang that consists of whole cereals and grains supplemented especially with beans and vegetables and that in its especially former more restrictive forms has been linked to nutritional deficiencies

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Other Words from macrobiotic

macrobiotics \ ˌma-​krō-​bī-​ˈä-​tiks How to pronounce macrobiotic (audio) , -​bē-​ \ noun, plural in form but singular in construction

Examples of macrobiotic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The smell of organic coffee and macrobiotic lunch served by silent, underpaid service staff slides in under the chrome door handles. Kim Tran, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Diversity and Inclusion Industry Has Lost Its Way," 23 Mar. 2021 Its founders, Michio and Aveline Kushi, sought to make macrobiotic food more readily available. New York Times, "How Erewhon Became L.A.’s Hottest Hangout," 17 Feb. 2021 In an era when vegetarian food was dreary (think lentil loaf and macrobiotic brown rice), people lined up to eat Greens’ signature dishes like wilted spinach salad with mint, and piquant, savory galettes, timbales and gratins. Jessica Zack,, "Deborah Madison, pioneer of vegetarian dining with Greens Restaurant, offers captivating memoir," 10 Nov. 2020 When her mother was struggling with cancer in the mid-1990s, her entire family went on a vegetarian macrobiotic diet to support her lifestyle changes. Soleil Ho,, "Greens is brighter than ever as it soars through its midlife crisis," 3 Oct. 2019 Beth Ann Simon, who died in the East Village in 1966 at age 23 because of her obsession with a rigorously macrobiotic diet, may have been hippiedom’s true Patient Zero. Tom Carson, Los Angeles Times, "Woodstock glorified them. Tarantino barbecued them. In 2019, whither the hippie?," 15 Aug. 2019 Other than that, Adventure Nannies is open to all prior career backgrounds, including professional athletes, computer programmers, ex-military, published authors, historians, macrobiotic chefs, to name a handful of previous professions. Cristina Goyanes, Marie Claire, "The Coolest Six-Figure Job You Never Thought You Wanted: Nannying," 14 Jan. 2019 De Maria chef Camille Becerra has always drawn upon her early training at macrobiotic restaurants and a Zen center. Christine Muhlke, Bon Appetit, "All Day Cafes Are Changing the Way We Eat Out," 15 Jan. 2018 This macrobiotic food site has a wide variety of premium Japanese ingredients, mostly from the Ohsawa brand, and comes highly recommended by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, author of Preserving the Japanese Way. Mari Uyehara, Bon Appetit, "These 10 Great Online Specialty Food Stores Have Everything," 19 June 2017

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

1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for macrobiotic

borrowed from French macrobiotique, probably adapted from German Macrobiotic, noun (defined by its coiner as "the art of prolonging life"), from Greek makrobiótēs "longevity, long life" (from makróbios "long-lived" —from makrós "long" + -o- -o- + -bios "having life [of the kind specified]"— + -tēs, abstract noun suffix) + German -ic -ic entry 2 — more at macro-, amphibious

Note: French macrobiotique was used by the Japanese author George Ohsawa (Nyoichi Sakurazawa, 1893-1966) in La Philosophie de la Médecine d'Extrême-Orient (1956) and later works that popularized macrobiotic diet practices. He most likely adapted the word from German Macrobiotic (in later spelling Makrobiotik), apparently originated by the German physician Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836) in Die Kunst das menschliche Leben zu verlängern (Jena, 1797). Hufeland defined Macrobiotic in the preface (p. vi) as "the art of prolonging life" ("die Kunst das Leben zu verlängern"), and in later editions used Makrobiotik as the title of the book, with the original title as subtitle.

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The first known use of macrobiotic was in 1965

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Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Macrobiotic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for macrobiotic



English Language Learners Definition of macrobiotic

: consisting of mainly whole grains and vegetables


mac·​ro·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌmak-rō-bī-ˈät-ik, -bē- How to pronounce macrobiotic (audio) \

Medical Definition of macrobiotic

: of, relating to, or being a diet that consists of whole cereals and grains supplemented especially with beans and vegetables and that in its especially former more restrictive forms has been linked to nutritional deficiencies

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