1 of 2

noun (1)

plan·​tain ˈplan-tᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio)
: any of a genus (Plantago of the family Plantaginaceae, the plantain family) of herbs with basal rosettes of usually lanceolate or elliptical leaves and spikes of minute greenish flowers


2 of 2

noun (2)

plan·​tain plan-ˈtān How to pronounce plantain (audio)
: the angular greenish starchy fruit of the plantain that is a staple food in the tropics when cooked
: a banana plant (Musa paradisiaca)

Examples of plantain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Cuts of pork, beef and chicken meld in a stew with plantains, rounds of corn on the cob, winter squash and yautia, a root vegetable sometimes called malanga. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2024 The food menu is Southwest-inspired, with twists on traditional diner fare like chorizo-and-cornbread eggs Benedict and hearty blue corn pancakes with fried plantains baked inside. Jared Kaufman, Twin Cities, 11 Jan. 2024 For his go-to meal this Easter, the chef recommends honey ham roast and plantain bread. Dwight Brown, Essence, 27 Mar. 2024 Happily, my fellow members turned out to be kitchen experts; one of them, the author of multiple cookbooks, immediately took control of the grill to char plantains, tomatoes, onions, spices, and herbs. Flora Stubbs, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, sides include plantains, beans and ric, and yucca fries ($5.50 to $6.50). Kate Bradshaw, The Mercury News, 29 Feb. 2024 Sauté some plantain, tomatoes, or spinach and fill them into a flaky empanada—no need to spend time making the dough yourself, since the kind from the freezer section works just fine. Ashia Aubourg, SELF, 26 Jan. 2024 Read on below: Sweet plantains are the star of this chorizo and black bean stew How to pick the best ingredients for stellar vegan baking Honey brings more than sweetness to cocktails. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 Don’t miss the coconut plantain bread pudding with roasted chili pineapple and rum cream sauce. Anna Haines, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plantain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin plantagin-, plantago, from planta sole of the foot; from its broad leaves — more at place

Noun (2)

Spanish plántano, plátano plane tree, banana tree, from Medieval Latin plantanus plane tree, alteration of Latin platanus — more at plane entry 4

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of plantain was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near plantain

Cite this Entry

“Plantain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plan·​tain ˈplant-ᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio)
: any of several common weeds having a short stem or none at all, leaves with parallel veins, and a long stalk of tiny greenish flowers


2 of 2 noun
: the large greenish starchy fruit of a kind of banana plant that is eaten cooked and is an important food in the tropics
also : this plant

Medical Definition


plan·​tain ˈplant-ᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio)
: any plant of the genus Plantago

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