rough·​age ˈrə-fij How to pronounce roughage (audio)
: mostly indigestible material in food (such as legumes, whole grains, and vegetables) that promotes elimination of waste from the large intestine : fiber sense 1d
Knowing where to get dietary fiber is important because strong evidence now links roughage to good health, weight management and a reduced risk of colon cancer and other major diseases.Elizabeth Somer
also : food containing much indigestible material acting as fiber
That's okay, though: Junk food has a place in a moviegoing diet, as long as you make room for roughage elsewhere. Ty Burr

Examples of roughage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web However, not all game shows are winners, and there’s a lot of reality TV roughage to dig through in pursuit of a few diamonds. Chris Snellgrove,, 3 Feb. 2024 Additionally, McGowan said people should avoid fruits and vegetables with significant roughage — the indigestible portion of food. Vanessa Etienne, Peoplemag, 24 Aug. 2023 There’s enough roughage to skip a salad altogether, and the cream and parm keep the sauce from feeling too vegetal. The Bon Appétit Staff & Contributors, Bon Appétit, 4 Aug. 2023 To test what these plastics do to our bodies once they’re consumed, the team bathed human embryonic kidney cells in the plastic roughage shed by the baby-food containers. WIRED, 31 July 2023 Some dinosaurs needed long necks to reach high in the trees, loading their enormous guts with enough roughage to supply a small forest. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 6 June 2023 Eating a high-fiber diet is also tied to lower colon cancer rates, and soy foods like edamame and tempeh both have plenty of roughage. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, 14 Nov. 2022 Eighty-nine percent of a cow’s lifetime methane emissions come from the process of digesting grass, leaves, and other roughage during its time on the pasture. Brian Kateman, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 Fiber supplements are designed to provide your body with enough roughage (fiber) so that it can be properly digested, filtered, and excreted. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 4 Nov. 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1911, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of roughage was in 1911

Dictionary Entries Near roughage

Cite this Entry

“Roughage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


rough·​age ˈrəf-ij How to pronounce roughage (audio)

Medical Definition


rough·​age ˈrəf-ij How to pronounce roughage (audio)
: fiber sense 2
also : food (as bran) containing much indigestible material acting as fiber

More from Merriam-Webster on roughage

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