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vegetable Line breaks: vege|table
Pronunciation: /ˈvɛdʒtəb(ə)l/

Definition of vegetable in English:


1A plant or part of a plant used as food, such as a cabbage, potato, turnip, or bean: fresh fruit and vegetables [as modifier]: a vegetable garden vegetable soup
More example sentences
  • I lived on vegetable stew, which became by Monday spicy vegetable stew and by Wednesday vegetable curry.
  • A glass of fresh vegetable juice is a healthy snack that will provide your body with important nutrients.
  • The buffet-style meals include homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs, and vegetable soup with rice.
2 informal A person with a dull or inactive life: I thought I’d sort of flop back and be a vegetable for a bit
2.1 offensive A person who is incapable of normal mental or physical activity, especially through brain damage.


[attributive] Back to top  
Relating to plants or plant life, especially as distinct from animal life or mineral substances: decaying vegetable matter
More example sentences
  • However, the commercial fish food is designed to offer a nutrient-rich and balanced diet, and it contains both animal and vegetable matter.
  • Natural fibers may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin.
  • Seeds and insects are part of their diet year round, but the ratio of animal and vegetable matter fluctuates throughout the year.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'growing as a plant'): from Old French, or from late Latin vegetabilis 'animating', from Latin vegetare (see vegetate). The noun dates from the late 16th century.

  • The early use was adjectival in the sense ‘growing as a plant’, from late Latin vegetabilis ‘animating’. The noun dates from the late 16th century. Related words include vegetative (Late Middle English); vegetation (mid 16th century); and vegetate (early 17th century). The slang use veg out meaning ‘pass the time in mindless activity’ arose in the 1980s. Vegetarian is an irregular formation of the mid 19th century; the abbreviation veggie dates from the 1970s.

Definition of vegetable in:

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