veg·​e·​tate ˈve-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce vegetate (audio)
vegetated; vegetating

intransitive verb

: to lead a passive existence without exertion of body or mind
: to grow in the manner of a plant
also : to grow exuberantly or with proliferation of fleshy or warty outgrowths
: to produce vegetation

transitive verb

: to establish vegetation in or on

Example Sentences

I just spent the weekend vegetating at home. I'm worried that after I retire I'll just sit at home, watch TV, and vegetate.
Recent Examples on the Web Spores can also persist indefinitely in contaminated soil and may vegetate in grazeland, which could further spread the infection among South Dakota’s cattle. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2022 The Tigers didn't act fast to quash the initial report, rather allowing the idea of Hinch's opt-out clause to vegetate for more than a year. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 26 June 2022 In the 58 years since the Skycrane’s first flight, fire seasons have lengthened across a quarter of the Earth’s vegetated surface, giving rise to about a 20 percent increase in the global length of the fire weather season. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, 9 Mar. 2020 Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. National Geographic, 21 Jan. 2020 Yes, football has its problems, but what's more indulgent, more American, than vegetating on the couch for four hours, gorging on queso and analyzing beer commercials with a bunch of your favorite people? Aj Willingham, CNN, 1 Feb. 2020 Planting trees and ensuring soils are always vegetated with a cover crop such as clover between cropping seasons can also slow water and trap soil. Dan Evans, Quartz, 29 Dec. 2019 Rake leaves, go to a football game or just vegetate on the sofa. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 2 Nov. 2019 Of this green space, 33 percent consists of natural habitats within open space, and 14 percent vegetated private or domestic garden land. Simon Ingram, National Geographic, 26 July 2019 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin vegetātus, past participle of vegetāre "to live, grow," going back to Latin, "to impart energy to, invigorate," verbal derivative of vegetus "vigorous, active, lively," probably, if from *vegitus, verbal adjective of vegēre "to give vigor to, enliven" — more at wake entry 1

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of vegetate was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near vegetate

Cite this Entry

“Vegetate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


veg·​e·​tate ˈvej-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce vegetate (audio)
vegetated; vegetating
: to live or grow in the manner of a plant
: to lead a lazy life by doing little but eating and growing
: to establish plant life in or on
vegetated hillsides

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