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 Meuer Farm: Grains, flours, oats, honey, maple syrup, meats. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As restaurants close for coronavirus, farmers find ways to get food to our homes," 31 Mar. 2020 The recipe brings together rolled oats, raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, wheatgerm and dried fruit like tart cherries into a chewy, crunchy harmony. Harmless Harvest, Bon Appétit, "Why We Can't Get Enough of this New Addition to the Yogurt Aisle," 24 Feb. 2020 If the ground isn’t covered in snow, wheat fields can be magnets for late winter bucks, as can rye, oat, triticale, or barley fields. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, "18 Key Strategies for Finding More Sheds," 5 Feb. 2020 That could add momentum to the shift toward oat, nut, soy and other alternative beverages for health and environmental reasons. BostonGlobe.com, "Some Uber drivers can set their own rates," 21 Jan. 2020 Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Kate Merker And Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Oatmeal Cream Pies," 6 Jan. 2020 But while being a dairy farmer is tough, the industry isn’t exactly wringing its hands over the ascendance (pdf) of milk-like beverages made from almonds, oats, peas, bananas, cashews, yeast, and soy. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "Plant-based milks aren’t the reason US dairies are struggling," 21 Dec. 2019 The owner of Manresa Bread in Los Gatos, Los Altos and Campbell, Ruzicka uses a small amount of brown sugar-rich cookie dough to hold a chest’s worth of loot: tart dried cherries, oats, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes and chopped chocolate. Jessica Battilana, SFChronicle.com, "Repertoire: 3 irresistible recipes for your holiday cookie plate," 6 Dec. 2019 Almond, oat, soy, flax, coconut, cashew and other milk alternatives have led to steep declines in overall dairy milk consumption in the U.S. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "America's largest milk producer files for bankruptcy," 12 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for oat

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

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oat. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for oat


How to pronounce oat (audio)

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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