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’
    • ‘Why not consider taking on an allotment and growing your own fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.’
    • ‘Just about any book or article on nutrition recommends that we eat leafy green vegetables.’
    • ‘A glass of fresh vegetable juice is a healthy snack that will provide your body with important nutrients.’
    • ‘Scottish diets are high in fat and there is a marked deficiency of fruit and vegetables.’
    • ‘The children received cooking classes from local chefs who introduced them to cooking healthy foods such as vegetable soup and home made pizzas.’
    • ‘Both dishes came with a mountain of fresh vegetables - spinach, carrots and green beans.’
    • ‘Vegetables like broccoli will soak up flavour best.’
    • ‘I lived on vegetable stew, which became by Monday spicy vegetable stew and by Wednesday vegetable curry.’
    • ‘Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables to replenish the nutrients your body craves.’
    • ‘The obvious choices are healthy vegetables like carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes.’
    • ‘My parents still make a living selling vegetables at farmers markets.’
    • ‘She eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, but also red meat, poultry and fish from time to time.’
    • ‘Fruit and vegetables also contain non-essential nutrients called phytochemicals, which have some potent properties.’
    • ‘There is no limit to what you can grow, from sweet peas to all types of vegetables and soft fruit.’
    • ‘Janet stood in her kitchen chopping vegetables for salad.’
    • ‘He sells his fruit and vegetables locally for prices little higher than those for non-organic produce.’
    • ‘If you don't like spinach, try other green vegetables such as beans or bok choy.’
    • ‘The potato is the vegetable of choice in the United States.’
    • ‘Most of the vegetables and fruit are grown organically on the estate and they also produce their own honey.’
    • ‘The buffet-style meals include homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs, and vegetable soup with rice.’
    • ‘Garlic, oats, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables all help lower bad cholesterol - as does red wine.’
    herb, flower, shrub, weed
    View synonyms
  • 2informal A person with a dull or inactive life.

    ‘I thought I'd sort of flop back and be a vegetable for a bit’
    1. 2.1offensive A person who is incapable of normal mental or physical activity, especially through brain damage.


  • attributive Relating to plants or plant life, especially as distinct from animal life or mineral substances.

    ‘decaying vegetable matter’
    • ‘Terrestrial orchids grow in the humus - the rich, loose top layer of soil that is made up of decaying leaves and vegetable matter.’
    • ‘Natural fibers may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin.’
    • ‘Rock Sandpipers are unusual among shorebirds in that they commonly eat vegetable matter, including seeds, berries, moss, and algae.’
    • ‘Black Rot is a devastating fungal disease which infects many vegetable species, especially crucifers.’
    • ‘Fats and oils are obtained from vegetable and animal sources.’
    • ‘The vast majority of the House Finch's diet is vegetable matter - seeds, buds, berries, and nectar.’
    • ‘The officers found a ‘greenish slab of vegetable substance believed to be cannabis’ when they searched his bag.’
    • ‘It is one of the most commonly found saturated fatty acids and it occurs as glycerides in the majority of animal and vegetable fats.’
    • ‘Originally, perfumes came from animal and vegetable sources.’
    • ‘Seeds and insects are part of their diet year round, but the ratio of animal and vegetable matter fluctuates throughout the year.’
    • ‘They typically eat insects and floating vegetable matter but their diet also includes zooplankton, aquatic insect larvae, and worms.’
    • ‘Connoisseurs consider continental chocolate, made from just cocoa beans and cocoa butter, superior to British chocolate, which has vegetable fat added.’
    • ‘Its diet consists chiefly of vegetable matter, but it also eats small animals.’
    • ‘The European Union has instituted some tough new measures requiring that all cut flowers be whole, fresh and free of animal or vegetable parasites.’
    • ‘They feed insects and spiders to their young, but adults eat more than 90% vegetable matter throughout the year.’
    • ‘In the vegetable kingdom, as winter approaches, the life force transfers to the roots.’
    • ‘They probably eat more vegetable than animal matter over the course of a year.’
    • ‘Most fungi of the Phylum Chytridiomycota break down vegetable matter in aquatic systems, but some are parasitic on diatoms or insects.’
    • ‘However, the commercial fish food is designed to offer a nutrient-rich and balanced diet, and it contains both animal and vegetable matter.’
    • ‘You can do some basic modifications to some diesel engines, which will basically let you use vegetable and animal oils to run your car.’


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.