vegetable

1 of 2

noun

veg·​e·​ta·​ble ˈvej-tə-bəl How to pronounce vegetable (audio)
ˈve-jə-,
ˈvech-
1
: a usually herbaceous plant (such as the cabbage, bean, or potato) grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal
also : such an edible part
2
3
a
: a person having a dull or merely physical existence
b
informal + sometimes offensive : a person whose mental and physical functioning is severely impaired and especially one who requires supportive measures (such as mechanical ventilation) to survive

vegetable

2 of 2

adjective

1
a
: of, relating to, constituting, or growing like plants
b
: consisting of plants : vegetational
2
: made from, obtained from, or containing plants or plant products
vegetable soup
vegetable fat
3
: resembling or suggesting a plant (as in inertness or passivity)

Example Sentences

Noun The doctor said I should eat more fruits and vegetables. a bowl of vegetable soup The accident had left him a vegetable.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Portraits of the governor and his wife posing with prize-winning vegetables (both are keen gardeners) decorate the walls of the family home in Ngabang, a town in the hills four hours’ drive from Pontianak, the provincial capital. The Economist, 20 July 2017 This summer, at the South Windsor Farmers Market, SoWin/EatsHealthy will be offering discounted boxes of fresh vegetables from local farmers. Courant Community, 17 July 2017 The Saturday Muldoon Farmers Market will have baklava, baked goods, rhubarb, crafts and loads of vegetables, including salad mixes, tomatoes, radishes, greens, zucchini, bok choy and herbs. Steve Edwards, Alaska Dispatch News, 12 July 2017 Like going to the bathroom, or, conversely, being able to eat: Human waste will be treated through a bio-fermentation process, and experimental crops and vegetables will be grown with the help of food and waste byproducts. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, Teen Vogue, 11 July 2017 In rats with diabetes, the compound, which occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables, had the intended effect, reversing the genetic signature in the animals’ livers. Jessica Wapner, MSNBC Newsweek, 15 June 2017 Her family still has a small vegetable garden and a hillside plot filled with a few dozen white tea plants, but most of their crops have been replaced with cedar trees and a scattering of bamboo. Michael Holtz, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 June 2017 That’s no surprise, perhaps, given the organic revolution and the proximity to the state’s absurdly fertile Central Valley, which produces half of the country’s fruits and vegetables. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 20 June 2017 The vendors sprawled across several streets with fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and coffee. Amanda Shine, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 June 2017
Adjective
In March, Kroger launched an AI lab where technology can keep track of vegetable freshness. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2022 The Times’ Roger Vincent popped by L’Oreal’s El Segundo site, where a concierge will pick up workers’ laundry, dogs are welcome, and a park-like campus includes a vegetable garden. Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2022 For example, subbing beans for chicken in a vegetable stir-fry once a week could save roughly $400 annually and meet your protein quota. Leslie Goldman, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Sep. 2022 The darker green leaves can be used when making vegetable stock. Aleksandra Crapanzano, Bon Appétit, 5 Oct. 2022 During the one-minute clip, the daytime TV talk show host holds up a vegetable slice before scraping off the toppings. Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 30 Sep. 2022 Extra ranch dressing can be used as a vegetable dip. Krissa Rossbund, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 At the reception, which was planned by Custom Love Gifts and Events, the couple served a vegetable medley, southern green beans, roasted potatoes, grilled chicken and pork medallions catered by Tasteful Gatherings for dinner. Brianne Tracy, Peoplemag, 7 Oct. 2022 Documents provided to the Tribune do not specify where the MWRD’s sludge is used in vegetable gardens throughout the county or how much has been spread on individual plots over the years. Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vegetable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Medieval Latin vegetābilia, plural noun derivative of vegetābilis vegetable entry 2

Adjective

Middle English, "capable of growth, of or like plants (able to grow but lacking motion or sensation)," borrowed from Medieval Latin vegetābilis, going back to Late Latin, "vivifying, refreshing," from vegetāre "to live, grow" + Latin -bilis "capable of (acting or being acted upon)" — more at vegetate, -able

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of vegetable was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near vegetable

Cite this Entry

“Vegetable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegetable. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

vegetable

1 of 2 adjective
veg·​e·​ta·​ble ˈvej-tə-bəl How to pronounce vegetable (audio)
ˈvej-ət-ə-bəl
1
: of, relating to, consisting of, or growing like plants
vegetable growth
2
: made from, obtained from, or containing plants or plant products
vegetable soup

vegetable

2 of 2 noun
1
2
: a leafy plant (as the cabbage, bean, or potato) usually without woody tissue grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal
also : such an edible part

Medical Definition

vegetable

1 of 2 adjective
veg·​e·​ta·​ble ˈvej-tə-bəl, ˈvej-ət-ə- How to pronounce vegetable (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, constituting, or growing like plants
b
: consisting of plants
2
: made or obtained from plants or plant products

vegetable

2 of 2 noun
1
: a usually herbaceous plant (as the cabbage, bean, or potato) grown for an edible part
also : such an edible part
2
: a person whose mental and physical functioning is severely impaired and especially one who requires supportive measures (as intravenous feeding or mechanical ventilation) to survive

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