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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English vegetable, from Old French vegetable, from Latin vegetābilis (able to live and grow), derived from vegetāre (to enliven). Displaced native Old English wyrt and ofett.

Related to vigil, vigour, vajra, and waker.



vegetable (plural vegetables)

  1. Any plant.
    • 1837, The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, volume 23, page 222:
      That he might ascertain whether any of the cloths of ancient Egypt were made of hemp, M. Dutrochet has examined with the microscope the weavable filaments of this last vegetable.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, →OCLC:
      The first of the tall trees was reached, and by the bearings proved the wrong one. So with the second. The third rose nearly two hundred feet into the air above a clump of underwood — a giant of a vegetable, with a red column as big as a cottage, and a wide shadow around in which a company could have manoeuvred.
  2. A plant raised for some edible part of it, such as the leaves, roots, fruit or flowers, but excluding any plant considered to be a fruit, grain, herb, or spice in the culinary sense.
    Synonyms: (informal) veg, (informal) veggie
  3. The edible part of such a plant.
    Synonyms: (informal) veg, (informal) veggie
  4. (figuratively, derogatory) A person whose brain (or, infrequently, whose body) has been damaged to the point that they cannot interact with the surrounding environment; a person in a persistent vegetative state.
    Synonym: cabbage

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vegetable (not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to plants.
  2. Of or relating to vegetables.


Further reading[edit]