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 And while almond is the worst as far as environmental impact, oat-milk is a sustainable option, according to a recent University of Oxford study. Liza Monroy, Longreads, "Soli/dairy/ty," 10 Aug. 2020 Consumers also bought more milk alternatives, notably trendy oat milk, which saw sales increase 250% to $132.4 million for the 20-week period ending on July 18. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "'Got Milk?' is back — mustaches not included," 3 Aug. 2020 Protect delicate skin from razor burn with a therapeutic gel packed with all kinds of soothing ingredients (read: vitamin E and oat). Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Seventeen's 2020 Beauty Awards," 28 May 2020 DeFazio says that generally speaking oat milk is healthy. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "Is Oat Milk Good For You? 2 Dietitians Weigh In," 18 Apr. 2020 Also, check grocery shelves for other types of flour, like almond, chickpea, oat or whole wheat. Linnea Covington, The Know, "Out of eggs, rice, garlic or flour? Here are some common swaps for cooking staples.," 26 Mar. 2020 So, during phase one, consumers would have had a harder time purchasing frozen oat milk pops like those made by Chloe’s from their local grocery stores. Rachel King, Fortune, "Plant-based food sales see greatest gains yet as meat shortage fears grow," 15 May 2020 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

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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for oat

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oat. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on oat

Spanish Central: Translation of oat

Nglish: Translation of oat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on oat

What made you want to look up oat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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