pabulum

noun
pab·u·lum | \ ˈpa-byə-ləm \

Definition of pabulum 

1 : food especially : a suspension or solution of nutrients in a state suitable for absorption Roots deliver pabulum to the plant.

2 : intellectual sustenance pabulum for consideration and reflection

3 : something (such as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland wrote pabulum that was intended to offend no one

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Synonyms for pabulum

Synonyms

food, nourishment, sustenance

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of pabulum in a Sentence

we have reached a cultural low if reality television is regarded as pabulum for the masses

Recent Examples on the Web

They are just being fed this pabulum of leftist ideology. Fox News, "Hogan Gidley on Macron's 'special relationship' with Trump," 25 Apr. 2018 Direct pronouncements from him are so rare that even this pabulum was treated as push-alert-worthy news. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet," 12 Mar. 2018 And the realities of international diplomacy have, over decades, led spokespeople for presidents of both parties to offer near-identical pabulum on some of America's most vexing foreign policy questions. Matt Lehrich, CNN, "Why we need to watch Sean Spicer squirm," 26 May 2017

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.

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First Known Use of pabulum

circa 1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pabulum

Latin, food, fodder; akin to Latin pascere to feed — more at food

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Dictionary Entries near pabulum

PABA

pablo

pablum

pabulum

PABX

PAC

Pac

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Time Traveler for pabulum

The first known use of pabulum was circa 1661

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More Definitions for pabulum

pabulum

noun
pab·u·lum | \ ˈpab-yə-ləm \

Medical Definition of pabulum 

: food especially : a suspension or solution of nutrients in a state suitable for absorption

More from Merriam-Webster on pabulum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pabulum

Nglish: Translation of pabulum for Spanish Speakers

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