Definition of sprout in English:



  • 1 (of a plant) put forth shoots.

    ‘the weeds begin to sprout’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some other plants had survived - a small convolvulus, golden lamium and creeping geranium were beginning to sprout so these were potted up.’
    • ‘Corn is finally sprouting in the field that had the large pool of water standing in it much of the spring.’
    • ‘During the spring new plants sprout but their fruits don't immediately ripen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm holding my breath, but it looks like my pepper seeds are sprouting!’
    • ‘In the field, bulbs sprout after the first rains in the autumn, and plants may flower by the end of winter (March).’
    • ‘Meanwhile, bulbs and seeds sprout, trees bud, and insects emerge and start consuming the tender foliage.’
    • ‘A Forest Service staff geneticist planted them anyway, and the seeds sprouted.’
    • ‘Only a small percentage from each weed species sprouts each year.’
    • ‘It seeds madly and sprouts from the least little bit of root left in the ground.’
    • ‘Chitting describes the process whereby seeds are placed between layers of damp kitchen towel and allowed to sprout prior to planting.’
    • ‘Some species will sprout right away; others could take a year or more to grow.’
    • ‘They couldn't give them much water, but in a few days, the seeds had sprouted anyway.’
    • ‘After planting, the seeds sprout and plants emerge more or less normally.’
    • ‘The two blueberry bushes are sprouting and I've watered them a little bit.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘The barley was first allowed to germinate, or sprout rootlets, in a moist environment.’
      • ‘The spokesman added that many sportsmen sprouted facial hair and wore their hair long in the 1970s.’
      • ‘When I was twelve I began sprouting my first pubic hair, and I was aghast.’
      • ‘She had a mole on the left side of her chin which sprouted hairs as if it had a life of its own.’
      • ‘That morning our guide, Kundan, had led Derek and I through rhododendron trees sprouting pink and red flowers in the April Himalayas.’
      • ‘She opens her eyes, and looks at me as though I've sprouted horns.’
      • ‘In an old-growth forest, rotting trees sprouting new saplings are a common sight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Twenty years later, still sprouting sideburns and a head of thick, oil-black hair, Wolfe still looks every bit the rock 'n' roll dude.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has also sprouted an abundance of facial hair.’
      • ‘This perfume is made from the bulb of a plant with the same name, a plant that grows locally and sprouts tiny white flowers.’
      • ‘She looked at me as if I'd sprouted purple hair.’
      • ‘I was surprised to find it had sprouted new branches 15 cm long, with flowers!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Next spring, these cloves will sprout their leaves and start to make new bulbs.’
      • ‘If the basement is too warm, the plants will sprout weak growth.’
      • ‘It has already sprouted three new shoots around the cutting and shows no sign of slowing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘I stared at him as if he suddenly had sprouted horns.’
      • ‘My green onion plant, that had sprouted six inches, suddenly wilted and died.’
      • ‘Plants began sprouting up from the ground, and it got much, much hotter.’
      • ‘Weeds have sprouted up vigorously on the long stretch of land that leads to the water's edge.’
      • ‘The leafy stems sprout from the underground tuberous roots in early spring.’
      • ‘Grass, trees, and flowers sprouted from the ground until the entire plain was full of life.’
      • ‘In some areas near the edge of the berm, new grass has sprouted up along with some small semisucculent plants.’
      • ‘Imagine grass, wildflowers, shrubs, or even trees sprouting from your rooftop.’
      • ‘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 the Mediterranean, I've seen large, robust fig trees sprouting from craggy slopes and fractured rock cliffs.’
      • ‘The area was first settled in the 1830s and buildings began sprouting up on the Station site not long after.’
      • ‘Wild plants and flowers sprouted all over the place, creeping up the trees.’
      • ‘But then the weeds start sprouting up, and for every one you pull, there are five more to replace it.’
      • ‘Weeds sprouted through the cracks in the concrete.’
      • ‘With the first rains, leaves sprout on trees and bushes and the savannah grass grows to several yards within a few months.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I walked through the site earlier this year, lush vegetation was sprouting among the rusting iron columns in places.’
      • ‘Weeds start sprouting in the empty spaces in beds and borders and even in pots and containers.’
      • ‘The doorstep was barely visible through the undergrowth - and weeds were sprouting out of one section of the roof.’
      • ‘Banyan trees usually sprout at the most unlikely spots, like rooftops, cracks in concrete structures or over walls.’
      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’
      • ‘A growing industry has sprouted to serve companies seeking to shake loose extra cash.’
      • ‘Nursing homes are sprouting like mushrooms even here in the countryside.’
      • ‘We were disconcerted by Northern Ireland's aggressive vegetation, all of it a deep dayglo green and sprouting in every available thimbleful of soil.’
      • ‘Denominations have sprouted over the history of the church for a number of reasons.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dance on film is sprouting up everywhere.’
      • ‘The land rush for new information domains is exposing weaknesses in its registrar's infrastructure and already protest sites are sprouting up.’
      • ‘Becoming an industry leader requires more than sprouting locations across the country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Russian Revolution provoked immense fear in conservative Europe, especially as communist movements sprouted in Hungary, Finland, France, and Germany.’
      • ‘But even as publishing houses are sprouting up all over India, there isn't enough coverage of books in the Indian media.’
      • ‘Nineteen film funds have sprouted in Korea this year alone, helping reinvigorate the local industry.’
      • ‘Across the country, smarter, better-planned, more walkable developments are sprouting up without sprawling out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, many new houses are sprouting up around the reservoir which blocks the natural drainage from rain that previously helped fill the reservoir.’
      • ‘There is no way they can keep investment excitement from sprouting up all over the world.’
      • ‘A bar dominated the front of the room, and table and booths sprouted up all around the room.’
      • ‘As proposals for hazardous waste incinerators sprouted up throughout the country, The Rush to Burn spread like wildfire.’
      • ‘But, such is the demand, many firms have sprouted up offering birthday treats for children.’


  • 1A shoot of a plant.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 eaten as a vegetable, especially the shoots of alfalfa, mung beans, or soybeans.
      • ‘Soy sprouts can be used in salads, soups, casseroles and stir-fry dishes.’
      • ‘Add the parsley, sunflower sprouts, bell pepper, and romaine lettuce; toss to coat, season, and set aside.’
      • ‘Foods that can become contaminated with Salmonella include raw or undercooked meats, unpasteurized milk, raw or lightly cooked eggs and alfalfa sprouts.’
      • ‘Using alfalfa sprouts to relieve hot flashes is a successful folk remedy from New Mexico.’
      • ‘For the salad, as I wanted something more than just tofu and cucumber, I added celery, maui sweet onion, and alfalfa and onion sprouts.’
      • ‘Drizzle the dressing over the salad and garnish with a few extra snow pea sprouts and cracked black pepper.’
  • 2

    short for brussels sprout
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Middle English: related to Dutch spruiten and German spriessen.