on·​ion | \ ˈən-yən How to pronounce onion (audio) \

Definition of onion

1 : a widely cultivated Asian herb (Allium cepa) of the lily family with pungent edible bulbs also : its bulb
2 : any of various plants of the same genus as the onion

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from onion

oniony \ ˈən-​yə-​nē How to pronounce oniony (audio) \ adjective

Examples of onion in a Sentence

The recipe calls for chopped onions. He is growing onions in the garden this year. The recipe calls for chopped onion.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets and onion with oil and ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Roasted Broccoli and Lemony Ricotta Flatbread," 15 Feb. 2019 Add onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, and ½ tsp each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Instant Pot Beef and Squash Stew," 9 Jan. 2019 Add red bell peppers, red onions, celery, garlic, serrano chile, mustard seeds, bay leaves and thyme, and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Osayi Endolyn, WSJ, "Why Chefs Are Elevating Rice to Star Ingredient Status," 13 July 2018 Traditionally, gazpacho is a pureed mixture of fresh tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Mango gazpacho is a sweet spin on a classic summer soup," 17 June 2018 Grill steak and bell pepper and onion: cook steak 2 to 3 minutes per side to medium-rare and toss vegetables as needed to prevent excessive charring. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Meat & greet: It’s time to restore the butcher shop tradition," 5 June 2018 Cook vegetables: Toss bell peppers and onions with lime juice and olive oil, if using. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "Tyler Florence's Beef Fajitas (recipe)," 21 Feb. 2018 Thinly sliced Philly steak meat with peppers, onions, mushrooms covered with provolone cheese sauce. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "The Best Food Available at This Year’s All-Star Game," 16 Feb. 2018 Check out the super-popular Base Camp pizza, loaded up with pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Jensen Power, GQ, "Your Guide to the Ultimate Winter Weekend in Lake Tahoe, Skis Optional," 31 Jan. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for onion

Middle English, from Anglo-French oignon, from Latin union-, unio

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about onion

Statistics for onion

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for onion

The first known use of onion was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for onion



English Language Learners Definition of onion

: a round vegetable that is usually white, yellow, or red and has a strong smell and taste


on·​ion | \ ˈən-yən How to pronounce onion (audio) \

Kids Definition of onion

: the roundish edible bulb of a plant related to the lily that has a sharp odor and taste and is used as a vegetable and to season foods

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on onion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with onion

Spanish Central: Translation of onion

Nglish: Translation of onion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about onion

Comments on onion

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


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!