: any of a genus (Vicia) of herbaceous twining leguminous plants including some grown for fodder and green manure compare crown vetch, hairy vetch, milk vetch

Illustration of vetch

Illustration of vetch

Examples of vetch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These include red clover, crimson clover, vetch, peas and beans. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 2023 Wild nuts, peas, vetch, a legume which had edible seed pods, and grasses were often combined with pulses like beans or lentils, the most commonly identified ingredient, and at times, wild mustard. Katie Hunt, CNN, 22 Nov. 2022 Broadleaf plants such as clover, vetch, Austrian winter peas and other cool-season crops. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, 27 Sep. 2021 Larger seeds like peas, vetch and cereals should be raked in lightly. oregonlive, 16 Aug. 2021 Complaints about seeing hawkweed while on walks are up, as are questions about mass executions of butter and eggs, chickweed, German chamomile and cow vetch. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2021 Pridgen uses cover crops to block weeds and feed the soil; daikon radishes work to open up the soil without digging, and legumes, such as vetch and clover, add nitrogen to the soil. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 14 July 2021 There are many crops that will help with this, to name a few, oats, vetch, rye, clover, Austrian pea, etc. oregonlive, 1 May 2021 Bird vetch was called out by one reader and butter and eggs by another. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 18 June 2020 See More

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

Word History


Middle English fecche, veche, from Middle French dialect (Norman & Picard) veche, from Latin vicia; perhaps akin to Latin vincire to bind

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vetch was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near vetch

Cite this Entry

“Vetch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: any of a genus of twining herbs of the legume family that include plants used to feed domestic animals and to improve soil

More from Merriam-Webster on vetch

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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