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

Definition of vegetate

intransitive verb

1 : to lead a passive existence without exertion of body or mind
2a : to grow in the manner of a plant also : to grow exuberantly or with proliferation of fleshy or warty outgrowths
b : to produce vegetation

transitive verb

: to establish vegetation in or on

Examples of vegetate in a Sentence

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

The park’s custom-built, naturally vegetated overpasses and underground tunnels allow safe passage—and have set the global standard for animal highway safety. Susan O'keefe, National Geographic, "EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC," 8 Apr. 2019 The Southern Alps’ heavily vegetated westernmost slopes plunge, Jurassic Park–style, toward the sea. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "We Should All Just Move to New Zealand," 17 Jan. 2019 Each plant takes approximately two months to root, vegetate and mature into ready-to-harvest cannabis, Goldberg said. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Howard County’s first medical marijuana dispensaries ready to open," 13 Dec. 2017 Vinnie, in the meantime, has been vegetating in squalor in a motel in Cucamonga, Calif., striking up an almost romance with an Anglophile supermarket checkout worker, Cecilia (Ms. Girten) and living on hush money from Carter. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Sam Shepard’s ‘Simpatico,’ Cut Loose and Roaming Wild," 26 Sep. 2017 Initial Chinese news reports contained no suggestion that officials had been warned that the steep, thinly vegetated hillside could collapse. Chris Buckley And Javier C. HernÁndez, New York Times, "Hopes Fade After Landslide Destroys Chinese Village," 24 June 2017 The water settles into three biofiltration pools and vegetated beds below the light showers, after which it can be safely used by park goers. Barbara Sadick, WSJ, "A New Look for Urban Utility Structures," 14 Apr. 2017 For them, as for most of us, plants were just there in the background, vegetating away. National Geographic, "There Is Such a Thing as Plant Intelligence," 21 Feb. 2016

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.

See More

First Known Use of vegetate

1605, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for vegetate

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vegetate

Statistics for vegetate

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vegetate

The first known use of vegetate was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vegetate



English Language Learners Definition of vegetate

: to spend time doing things that do not require much thought or effort : to be very lazy or inactive

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vegetate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vegetate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vegetate

Spanish Central: Translation of vegetate

Nglish: Translation of vegetate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on vegetate

What made you want to look up vegetate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!