Definition of pabulum
- Roots deliver pabulum to the plant.
- pabulum for consideration and reflection
- wrote pabulum that was intended to offend no one
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
we have reached a cultural low if reality television is regarded as pabulum for the masses
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pabulum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Pabulum derives from the Latin term for "food" or "fodder" and was first used in English in the 17th century for anything taken in by plants or animals to maintain life and growth. Within 30 years of its first appearance in English texts, it was also being used to refer to things so intellectually stimulating or nourishing that they could be considered food for thought. But the word took on a whole new flavor in the 1930s when a team of Canadian doctors formulated a highly nutritious (but bland) baby cereal and named their product "Pablum" (based on the Latin word). As a result, the similar-looking "pabulum" did a linguistic about-face and is now often used for things that are bland and unstimulating as well as for things that are intellectually sustaining.
What made you want to look up pabulum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ