vict·​ual | \ ˈvi-tᵊl How to pronounce victual (audio) \

Definition of victual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : food usable by people
2 victuals\ ˈvi-​tᵊlz How to pronounce victual (audio) \ plural : supplies of food : provisions


victualed or victualled; victualing or victualling

Definition of victual (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to supply with food

intransitive verb

1 : eat
2 : to lay in provisions

Synonyms for victual

Synonyms: Verb

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If you're hungry for the story behind victual, get ready to dig into a rich and fulfilling history. The word derives via the Middle English and Anglo-French vitaille from the Late Latin plural noun victualia ("provisions"), and ultimately (by way of victus, meaning "nourishment" or "way of living") the Latin verb vivere, meaning "to live." Vivere is the source of a whole smorgasbord of other English words, such as vital, vivid, and survive. It's also the root of viand, another English word referring to food. There's also vittles, a word that sounds like it might be an alteration of the plural victuals (both are pronounced /VIT-ulz/) but which is actually just an earlier development of the Middle English vitaille that was served before victual.

Examples of victual in a Sentence

Verb the navy was usually equipped, clothed and victualled by the Crown that evening the travelers victualed sumptuously on partridge and venison
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Or, just buy a bottle and some victuals from the on-site shop, and get in on the picnic action yourself. Kristin Luna, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Mar. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scholars long thought that the capability to construct and victual a watercraft and then navigate it to a distant coast arrived only with advent of agriculture and animal domestication. Andrew Lawler, Science | AAAS, 24 Apr. 2018

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

First Known Use of victual


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1558, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for victual


Middle English vitaille, victuayle, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin victualia, plural, provisions, victuals, from neuter plural of victualis of nourishment, from Latin victus nourishment, way of living, from vivere to live — more at quick entry 1

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The first known use of victual was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Victual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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