tomato

noun
to·​ma·​to | \ tə-ˈmā-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce tomato (audio) ; chiefly in Britain, eastern New England, northeastern Virginia, and sometimes elsewhere in cultivated speech -ˈmä- How to pronounce tomato (audio) ; chiefly in Northern US -ˈma- \
plural tomatoes

Definition of tomato

1 : the usually large, rounded, edible, pulpy berry of an herb (genus Solanum) of the nightshade family native to South America that is typically red but may be yellow, orange, green, or purplish in color and is eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable
2 : a plant that produces tomatoes especially : any of various varieties of a tender perennial (Solanum lycopersicum synonym Lycopersicon esculentum) widely cultivated as an annual

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How is tomato pronounced?: Usage Guide

The original pronunciation of this Spanish loanword was with stressed \ä\, as was also the case for potato. The older \ä\ pronunciation of potato is found in Robert Burns' poem "Holy Willie's Prayer" and persists in some Scottish dialects. Perhaps because potato has been part of English longer than tomato, its pronunciation has been anglicized in most dialects, with the stressed \ä\ vowel becoming \ā\, like the a in Plato (from Greek) and dado (from Italian). The pronunciation of tomato began the same journey of anglicization but was halted halfway between, so that British and some Eastern American dialects have the older \ä\ while the others have the newer \ā\. Tomato, being the name of a New World plant, might have entered the English language first in the Americas, where it would have had more time to undergo anglicization in American mouths. The various pronunciations of tomato are all acceptable in standard English.

Examples of tomato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With the extras, Madeline filled our driveway with veggie pots and had enough left over to give away tomato plants to all of our neighbors and friends. oregonlive, "7 summer reads to inspire gardeners: The Pecks," 3 July 2020 The white pizza’s subtle style found a kindred spirit in Truth’s margherita pizza ($12 for a 12-inch pie), with slices of Roma tomato and a generous chop of fresh basil in solid balance with the melted mozzarella and rippled crust. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "52 Weeks of Pizza: Truth Pizzeria restaurant rocks a hybrid New York-Neapolitan style on San Antonio’s East Side," 3 July 2020 There’s also the famous Big Ass burger with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, bacon and fries ($16). Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, "21 metro Phoenix restaurants with deals and specials for 4th of July," 29 June 2020 The sandwich, made of lepinja bread with shredded lettuce, cabbage, onions, cucumbers and tomato with meat or falafel, is one of the restaurants most popular items. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "One of metro Detroit's popular food joints now offers vegan options," 23 June 2020 Shade-loving lettuce hides underneath cucumber trellises, and beets avoid the sun beside tall tomato plants. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "Kelly Smith-Trimble Strays from Traditional Planting Methods in Her Tennessee Garden," 5 June 2020 Savory, also known as umami, refers to the meatiness of broth, cheese, fish sauce, or a sundried tomato. John E Hayes, The Conversation, "COVID-19, smell and taste – how is COVID-19 different from other respiratory diseases?," 4 June 2020 It's served on a Pretzilla bun with chipotle ranch, lettuce, tomato and pickles, and comes with a side of waffle fries for $13.50. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Last year, a Milwaukee couple started a vegan comfort food trailer. Now they've turned it into a Cudahy restaurant.," 19 June 2020 Transfer 2 cups of the tomato mixture to a medium saucepan. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice," 17 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tomato.' 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 tomato

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tomato

alteration of earlier tomate, from Spanish, from Nahuatl tomatl

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Time Traveler for tomato

Time Traveler

The first known use of tomato was in 1604

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Statistics for tomato

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tomato.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tomato. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for tomato

tomato

noun
to·​ma·​to | \ tə-ˈmā-tō How to pronounce tomato (audio) , -ˈmä- \
plural tomatoes

Kids Definition of tomato

: the usually red juicy fruit of a plant related to the potato that is eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable

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More from Merriam-Webster on tomato

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tomato

Spanish Central: Translation of tomato

Nglish: Translation of tomato for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tomato for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tomato

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