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)

Examples of vegetable in a Sentence

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
Construction will start this summer on a new cut flower and vegetable garden that hearkens back to the once-private estate's roots when it was called Oldfields. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 10 May 2024 This easy children's vegetable garden plan will please gardeners of all ages with unusual and fun-looking vegetables. Nadia Hassani, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 May 2024 Pour in 9 cups of the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Kate Bradshaw, The Mercury News, 15 Apr. 2024 The Garden Boutique area will feature vegetable plants, annuals and miscellaneous garden items. Journal Sentinel, 8 Apr. 2024 Put it in a bowl beside crackers, vegetable chips, or crostini for easy dipping and spreading. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 8 Apr. 2024 The pool was expected to have an apple or rose walk, a yew hedge, and a vegetable garden. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 27 Mar. 2024 It's made with olive oil or a vegetable base and is available unscented or scented. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Mar. 2024 Then come the beans for earthiness and protein (there’s no need to drain and rinse them, by the way), tomatoes for a touch of acidity and umami, and vegetable stock for the requisite liquid. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2024

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

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 24 May. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on vegetable

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