noun (1)
plan·​tain | \ ˈplan-tᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio) \

Definition of plantain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


noun (2)
plan·​tain | \ plan-ˈtān How to pronounce plantain (audio) , ˈplan-ˌtān, ˈplan-tᵊn \

Definition of plantain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the angular greenish starchy fruit of the plantain that is a staple food in the tropics when cooked
2 : a banana plant (Musa paradisiaca)

First Known Use of plantain

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plantain

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

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Time Traveler for plantain

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

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Cite this Entry

“Plantain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for plantain


plan·​tain | \ ˈplan-tᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio) \

Kids Definition of plantain

: the greenish fruit of a kind of banana plant that is eaten cooked and is larger, less sweet, and more starchy than the ordinary banana


plan·​tain | \ ˈplant-ᵊn How to pronounce plantain (audio) \

Medical Definition of plantain

: any plant of the genus Plantago

More from Merriam-Webster on plantain

Nglish: Translation of plantain for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about plantain

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