pabulum

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from Latin pābulum (food, nourishment; fodder or pasture for animals; nourishment for the mind, food for thought), from pā(scō) (to nourish) +‎ -bulum (suffix denoting an instrument), or directly from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂-dʰlom (*peh₂- (to protect, shepherd) + *-dʰlom, variant of *-trom (suffix denoting a tool or instrument)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

pabulum (plural pabula or pabulums)

  1. Food or fodder, particularly that taken in by plants or animals.
  2. Material that feeds a fire.
  3. (figuratively) Food for thought.
  4. (figuratively) Bland intellectual fare; an undemanding diet of words.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, “Silverside”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326, page 300:
      At her invitation he outlined for her the succeeding chapters with terse military accuracy ; and what she liked best and best understood was avoidance of that false modesty which condescends, turning technicality into pabulum.
    • 2017 March 1, Anthony Zurcher, “Trump addresses Congress: A kinder, gentler president”, in BBC News[1], archived from the original on 5 June 2017:
      As this was largely a traditionally crafted speech, there were some painful cliches and political pabulum to which a typical politician might be prone, of course.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (bland intellectual fare): pablum

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From pā(scō) (I nourish) +‎ -bulum, or directly from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂-dʰlom (*peh₂- + *-dʰlom).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

pābulum n (genitive pābulī); second declension

  1. food, nourishment, sustenance
    • c. 37 BCE – 30 BCE, Virgil, Georgicon 4.265
      [] ultro / hortantem et fessas ad pabula nota vocantem
      [] freely / calling them and exhorting the weary insects to eat their familiar food.
  2. (of animals) fodder, pasture
  3. (figuratively) nourishment for the mind, food for thought

Inflection[edit]

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative pābulum pābula
genitive pābulī pābulōrum
dative pābulō pābulīs
accusative pābulum pābula
ablative pābulō pābulīs
vocative pābulum pābula

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]