Definition of sprout in English:



  • 1 (of a plant) put out shoots.

    ‘the weeds begin to sprout’
    • ‘Only a small percentage from each weed species sprouts each year.’
    • ‘I'm holding my breath, but it looks like my pepper seeds are sprouting!’
    • ‘Some species will sprout right away; others could take a year or more to grow.’
    • ‘It seeds madly and sprouts from the least little bit of root left in the ground.’
    • ‘After planting, the seeds sprout and plants emerge more or less normally.’
    • ‘They couldn't give them much water, but in a few days, the seeds had sprouted anyway.’
    • ‘I was amazed to find that the comfrey plants which were only just sprouting a couple of days ago, all now have proper leaves!’
    • ‘They sprout in the spring, grow foliage, then produce flowers and finally seeds.’
    • ‘A Forest Service staff geneticist planted them anyway, and the seeds sprouted.’
    • ‘The point is to wait until the soil is so chilled that seed cannot sprout, but stays dormant until warming soil and moisture trigger germination in spring.’
    • ‘The two blueberry bushes are sprouting and I've watered them a little bit.’
    • ‘Corn is finally sprouting in the field that had the large pool of water standing in it much of the spring.’
    • ‘Some other plants had survived - a small convolvulus, golden lamium and creeping geranium were beginning to sprout so these were potted up.’
    • ‘Basically those plants that can sprout the quickest and grow the fastest literally shade out their competitors and they're more likely to produce seeds.’
    • ‘During the spring new plants sprout but their fruits don't immediately ripen.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, bulbs and seeds sprout, trees bud, and insects emerge and start consuming the tender foliage.’
    • ‘In the field, bulbs sprout after the first rains in the autumn, and plants may flower by the end of winter (March).’
    • ‘Chitting describes the process whereby seeds are placed between layers of damp kitchen towel and allowed to sprout prior to planting.’
    germinate, put forth shoots, bud
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    1. 1.1[with object]Grow (plant shoots or hair)
      ‘many black cats sprout a few white hairs’
      • ‘If the basement is too warm, the plants will sprout weak growth.’
      • ‘That morning our guide, Kundan, had led Derek and I through rhododendron trees sprouting pink and red flowers in the April Himalayas.’
      • ‘The barley was first allowed to germinate, or sprout rootlets, in a moist environment.’
      • ‘To look the part, I let my hair grow down to the middle of my back, sprouted a goatee, and put six diamond studs in my left ear.’
      • ‘In an old-growth forest, rotting trees sprouting new saplings are a common sight.’
      • ‘She looked at me as if I'd sprouted purple hair.’
      • ‘He has also sprouted an abundance of facial hair.’
      • ‘Keep in mind that shaving or otherwise removing a hair from a mole is considered safe, but keep track of which ones sprout hair and which ones don't.’
      • ‘This perfume is made from the bulb of a plant with the same name, a plant that grows locally and sprouts tiny white flowers.’
      • ‘The bass player, an exceptionally tall, lean man with a bald head out of which sprouted a few knots of corkscrewed hair, looked a bit like Curtly Ambrose, the once-feared West Indies pace bowler.’
      • ‘It has already sprouted three new shoots around the cutting and shows no sign of slowing.’
      • ‘Twenty years later, still sprouting sideburns and a head of thick, oil-black hair, Wolfe still looks every bit the rock 'n' roll dude.’
      • ‘I was surprised to find it had sprouted new branches 15 cm long, with flowers!’
      • ‘She had a mole on the left side of her chin which sprouted hairs as if it had a life of its own.’
      • ‘Though drab from October to March, this bird, which is actually more closely related to puffins than auklets, sprouts a small white horn and feathery facial plumes during breeding season.’
      • ‘Beech is usually quite amenable to hard cutting back, as long as it gets plenty of light it will quickly sprout new shoots from the older wood.’
      • ‘The spokesman added that many sportsmen sprouted facial hair and wore their hair long in the 1970s.’
      • ‘Next spring, these cloves will sprout their leaves and start to make new bulbs.’
      • ‘She opens her eyes, and looks at me as though I've sprouted horns.’
      • ‘When I was twelve I began sprouting my first pubic hair, and I was aghast.’
      grow, develop
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    2. 1.2[no object](of a plant, flower, or hair) start to grow; spring up.
      ‘crocuses sprouted up from the grass’
      • ‘When I walked through the site earlier this year, lush vegetation was sprouting among the rusting iron columns in places.’
      • ‘Imagine grass, wildflowers, shrubs, or even trees sprouting from your rooftop.’
      • ‘Weeds have sprouted up vigorously on the long stretch of land that leads to the water's edge.’
      • ‘Grass, trees, and flowers sprouted from the ground until the entire plain was full of life.’
      • ‘The area was first settled in the 1830s and buildings began sprouting up on the Station site not long after.’
      • ‘The doorstep was barely visible through the undergrowth - and weeds were sprouting out of one section of the roof.’
      • ‘With the first rains, leaves sprout on trees and bushes and the savannah grass grows to several yards within a few months.’
      • ‘The leafy stems sprout from the underground tuberous roots in early spring.’
      • ‘Plants began sprouting up from the ground, and it got much, much hotter.’
      • ‘In the Mediterranean, I've seen large, robust fig trees sprouting from craggy slopes and fractured rock cliffs.’
      • ‘Banyan trees usually sprout at the most unlikely spots, like rooftops, cracks in concrete structures or over walls.’
      • ‘Weeds start sprouting in the empty spaces in beds and borders and even in pots and containers.’
      • ‘Weeds sprouted through the cracks in the concrete.’
      • ‘My green onion plant, that had sprouted six inches, suddenly wilted and died.’
      • ‘But then the weeds start sprouting up, and for every one you pull, there are five more to replace it.’
      • ‘A thick layer of snow lies on the rooftops, lights flash and twinkle on every street and a dazzling forest of trees has sprouted up all over the city.’
      • ‘I stared at him as if he suddenly had sprouted horns.’
      • ‘Wild plants and flowers sprouted all over the place, creeping up the trees.’
      • ‘Unchecked weeds sprouted wildly between the cracks in the pavements where overgrown and unruly front lawns had spilled over the remains of collapsed walls.’
      • ‘In some areas near the edge of the berm, new grass has sprouted up along with some small semisucculent plants.’
      spring up, shoot up, come up, grow, burgeon, develop, appear, mushroom, proliferate
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    3. 1.3[no object]Appear or develop suddenly and in large numbers.
      ‘plush new hotels are sprouting up everywhere’
      • ‘But even as publishing houses are sprouting up all over India, there isn't enough coverage of books in the Indian media.’
      • ‘A growing industry has sprouted to serve companies seeking to shake loose extra cash.’
      • ‘The land rush for new information domains is exposing weaknesses in its registrar's infrastructure and already protest sites are sprouting up.’
      • ‘Across the country, smarter, better-planned, more walkable developments are sprouting up without sprawling out.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, many new houses are sprouting up around the reservoir which blocks the natural drainage from rain that previously helped fill the reservoir.’
      • ‘But, such is the demand, many firms have sprouted up offering birthday treats for children.’
      • ‘We were disconcerted by Northern Ireland's aggressive vegetation, all of it a deep dayglo green and sprouting in every available thimbleful of soil.’
      • ‘The Russian Revolution provoked immense fear in conservative Europe, especially as communist movements sprouted in Hungary, Finland, France, and Germany.’
      • ‘Also, a new industry has sprouted to help manage relocation costs, which often includes helping an employee's spouse or partner find employment in their new area.’
      • ‘Becoming an industry leader requires more than sprouting locations across the country.’
      • ‘Nursing homes are sprouting like mushrooms even here in the countryside.’
      • ‘In the last few years, two cafés and a winery have sprouted up, and a fresh produce and fish market is to open any day.’
      • ‘A bar dominated the front of the room, and table and booths sprouted up all around the room.’
      • ‘Dance on film is sprouting up everywhere.’
      • ‘Denominations have sprouted over the history of the church for a number of reasons.’
      • ‘A bountiful crop of new nautical books sprouted up this year that should feed any boater's desire to remain connected, however vicariously, to the sea during the winter.’
      • ‘There is no way they can keep investment excitement from sprouting up all over the world.’
      • ‘As proposals for hazardous waste incinerators sprouted up throughout the country, The Rush to Burn spread like wildfire.’
      • ‘Mutoko is the starkest example of an African media revolution which has seen a growing number of independent radio stations sprout up across the continent.’
      • ‘Nineteen film funds have sprouted in Korea this year alone, helping reinvigorate the local industry.’


  • 1A shoot of a plant.

    ‘the flower pots are full of green sprouts’
    • ‘It's as easy to grow as green onions - just push the cloves down into the soil and in a few weeks, you'll have sprouts poking through.’
    • ‘From the ground, green sprouts start to appear through the cracks in the brickwork.’
    • ‘Top-dress lightly with sand, topsoil, and sifted compost, and keep the lawn well watered until the new sprouts emerge.’
    • ‘When buying garlic, look for firm heads with papery skins, and avoid any with green sprouts.’
    • ‘Then, late in spring, it started showing a few green sprouts.’
    1. 1.1Young shoots, especially of alfalfa, mung beans, or soybeans, eaten as a vegetable.
      • ‘For the salad, as I wanted something more than just tofu and cucumber, I added celery, maui sweet onion, and alfalfa and onion sprouts.’
      • ‘Foods that can become contaminated with Salmonella include raw or undercooked meats, unpasteurized milk, raw or lightly cooked eggs and alfalfa sprouts.’
      • ‘Soy sprouts can be used in salads, soups, casseroles and stir-fry dishes.’
      • ‘Using alfalfa sprouts to relieve hot flashes is a successful folk remedy from New Mexico.’
      • ‘Drizzle the dressing over the salad and garnish with a few extra snow pea sprouts and cracked black pepper.’
      • ‘Add the parsley, sunflower sprouts, bell pepper, and romaine lettuce; toss to coat, season, and set aside.’
  • 2

    short for brussels sprout
    • ‘Check winter vegetables, particularly sprouts, cabbage and broccoli for signs of black aphids.’
    • ‘In the poll of more than 1000 shoppers, 70% of respondents said they enjoy sprouts as part of their Christmas dinner.’
    • ‘I love sprouts but I only eat them at Christmas.’
    • ‘My colleague selected honey-glazed pork in garlic, together with roast potatoes, sprouts and diced swede.’
    • ‘I love very basic vegetables like potatoes and broccoli and asparagus and sprouts.’


Middle English: of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch spruiten and German spriessen.