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 Whereas oat milk nails add a sheer milky hint of color to nails, like a more natural-looking Frenchie, oatmeal nails are, well…the color of oatmeal. Elle Turner, Glamour, 29 Apr. 2022 Typically, Klorane dry shampoo is derived from oat milk. Chris Hachey, BGR, 29 Apr. 2022 Alongside a glass of oat milk, these cocoa-rich cookies are perfectly soft and chewy. Taylor Worden, Good Housekeeping, 28 Apr. 2022 That might include a breakfast of whole grain toast with peanut butter and a smoothie made from banana and oat milk. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2022 Help Mom upgrade her set-up with a Trade coffee subscription, which takes into account her flavor preferences, go-to brewing method, and even add-ins like oat milk, cream, and sugar, before recommending choice bags of beans from excellent roasters. Lauren Joseph, Bon Appétit, 22 Apr. 2022 Remove the oat mixture from the heat and stir in Greek yogurt. Arkansas Online, 31 Jan. 2022 Once butter is golden brown and smells nutty, after 1-2 minutes, drizzle it over oat mixture, and toss to combine. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 30 Dec. 2021 Stir the dry ingredients into the oat milk mixture in batches until fully incorporated. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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 online 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.

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best stand mixers for baking.

Learn More About oat

Time Traveler for oat

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near oat




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oat

Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oat. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for oat


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on oat

Nglish: Translation of oat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oat for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!