noun, often attributive
\ ˈōt How to pronounce oat (audio) \

Definition of oat

1a : any of several grasses (genus Avena) especially : a widely cultivated cereal grass (A. sativa)
b : a crop or plot of the oat also : the seed of an oat usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
2 archaic : a reed instrument made of an oat straw
feel one's oats
: to act in a newly self-confident and often self-important manner

Illustration of oat

Illustration of oat

oat 1a

Examples of oat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

More than 10% of drinks sold at Intelligentia’s coffee bars now include oat milk, while 4.1% use almond milk and 2% use 2% milk. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "These days, milk’s getting made with oats, hemp and peas. What’s a dairy farmer to do?," 3 July 2019 Waun is also working on creating alternative kinds of milk in-house, including oat, almond and macadamia nut. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Sample some African joe and book a safari at this new Louisville coffee house," 25 June 2019 Stir quick oats, crisp rice cereal and raisins in a large bowl. Kristen Massad, Dallas News, "Want to try a kids cooking subscription box? Here's why we love them," 21 June 2019 Breakfast Smoothie made with oats, Greek yogurt, ½ cup oat milk, 1 banana, 2 cups spinach and ½ tsp. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "Rosario Dawson — and Boyfriend Cory Booker — Stay Full and 'Energized' on a Raw Vegan Diet," 14 June 2019 The chemical is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup and is commonly used on agricultural products like soybeans and oats. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Report: Popular cereals, snack bars still contain weed killer chemical," 12 June 2019 Jamba said its beverages can now also be made with spirulina, oat milk, matcha and pea protein. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Jamba Juice is dropping 'juice' from its name," 6 June 2019 Also good: oat extract and licorice extract to soothe irritated complexions. Kathleen Mulpeter, Health.com, "The Best Anti-Aging Products to Buy at the Dermstore Sale," 27 Mar. 2018 Sprinkle evenly over the berry mixture and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the oat mixture is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Berry Oatmeal Crumble," 10 Apr. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for oat

Middle English ote "the grain of the oat plant, the plant itself," going back to Old English āte (weak feminine noun), of uncertain origin

Note: Old English āte has been compared with regional Dutch aate, oote "wild oats" (West and Zeeland Flanders), West Frisian and Groningen Dutch oat. (These contrast with Dutch haver, denoting cultivated oats, a reflex of the Common Germanic word for the grain.) Michiel de Vaan, in an addenda to the on-line etymologiebank.nl, believes that the Flanders words are semantic extensions of regional aat "food," of general Germanic origin (see eat entry 2), though this hypothesis would scarcely explain the Old English word. Jan de Vries (Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek, Brill, 1971) hypothesizes that the Low Country words may have been borrowed from English.

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oat cell


Statistics for oat

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for oat

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

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More Definitions for oat



English Language Learners Definition of oat

: a kind of grain that is widely grown
: the seeds of the oat plant used as feed for farm animals and in foods (such as bread and oatmeal) for people


\ ˈōt How to pronounce oat (audio) \

Kids Definition of oat

1 : a cereal grass grown for its loose clusters of seeds that are used for human food and animal feed
2 oats plural : a crop or the seeds of the oat

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More from Merriam-Webster on oat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oat

Spanish Central: Translation of oat

Nglish: Translation of oat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oat for Arabic Speakers

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