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
pabulum was our Word of the Day on 09/30/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of pabulum in a Sentence
we have reached a cultural low if reality television is regarded as pabulum for the masses
Recent Examples of pabulum from the Web
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.
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.
Did You Know?
Pabulum derives from the Latin term for "food" or "fodder" and was first used in English in the 18th 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.
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