Definition of victual in English:



  • Food or provisions.

    ‘turkey and other savoury victuals were served’
    • ‘As was the custom at the time, he went to the house of the poet of Niall to ask for victuals for the journey.’
    • ‘Ah, all done, you'll be better within the hour, now I must go fetch you two some victuals.’
    • ‘Next I had to fling some victuals into the sucking void of self-digesting agony that was my stomach.’
    • ‘During that time she only ate mild herbs and light victuals.’
    • ‘Shall we go sate my appetite for perishable victuals, my ever-loving husband?’
    • ‘Ma always made good food, if the atmosphere at the table wasn't the best, the victuals were always top notch…’
    • ‘And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of The Lord.’
    • ‘They were to get the same bread rations as active soldiers, plus a specified daily pay and an opportunity to buy victuals if a commissary was not providing the same.’
    • ‘So I stowed, in waterproof containers, in the back of my canoe, victuals and wine and a picnic blanket and other such finery.’
    • ‘After the round of introductions, it was time for some victuals.’
    • ‘If you equate vegetarian food with starch, stodge, and more starch, you'll be delighted to learn there's a restaurant in Singapore free of associations with vegetarian victuals and 1970s communes.’
    • ‘Take food: our hunter-gatherer ancestors never knew a time where there were unlimited victuals.’
    • ‘Feeling a bit hungry from my long cruise, however, I begged off and looked for some victuals.’
    • ‘When like me you have chosen the tough and rugged regime of living in a lighthouse for two nights, you will know that getting your daily victuals can be a demanding task.’
    • ‘I remained calm, though, because he would not go far without me, and I had plenty water and victuals to keep me going for some way yet.’
    • ‘If a man were sick and obliged to stay within, no victuals for him that day.’
    • ‘They consume their victuals from an upside-down position in the belief it causes indigestion, sends the blood to the head and therefore increases belligerence gainfully.’
    • ‘Bangkok's so awash in quality victuals, it's tough to stand out from the pack.’
    • ‘I declined the victuals although others partook of cheese, crackers and fruit cake.’
    • ‘And then I remembered the cider in my ice-chest, and after victuals and a brief respite, the evening started.’
    food, food and drink, fare, cooking, cuisine, sustenance, nutriment, nourishment, nutrition
    View synonyms


[with object]archaic
  • 1Provide with food or other stores.

    ‘the ship wasn't even properly victualled’
    • ‘The other was always held up to us as a model because she married a Government labourer in the Deptford victualling yard, and kept his room and the three children neat and tidy on eighteen shillings a week - until he took to drink.’
    • ‘The quality of his results and their importance in victualling the French navy were recognised with a prize of 12,000 francs, on condition that Appert published his method - which he did in 1810.’
    • ‘In the case of Thomas le Rente this may have been a way of increasing trade stock, for Thomas was already involved in the victualling trade (notably fishing) when he first appears in the 1280s.’
    • ‘Once victualled, the fleet set out for Staten Island, where it deposited the army.’
    • ‘In London: ‘In 1618 the city fathers complained that the multitude of alehouses and victualing houses within this city increasing daily are grown so dangerous and enormous as it is high time to suppress the number of them’.’
    • ‘Indeed he was never out of Europe, apart from a two-day trip to Tunis during the Second World War to victual the British Eighth Army that had just defeated Rommel.’
    • ‘Child made his money victualling the navy and lived at Portsmouth before developing a great estate at Wanstead in Essex.’
    • ‘Experienced merchants, men unafraid of risk and who commanded sufficient capital to acquire, arm, and victual a strong vessel, were as necessary to successful cruises as skilled captains, whose reputations could attract large crews.’
    • ‘Where we know the occupations of their inhabitants, the predominance of the victualling trades and of craftsmen - shopkeepers in leather, metal, and textiles - is striking.’
    • ‘Ships bound for India and the east, unable to use the Suez Canal, had to sail via the Cape, and were serviced and victualled at West African ports.’
    • ‘A whole new industry was created and the steep sides of the Douro valley terraced and planted to victual the English shires.’
    • ‘For the first century the Royal Navy used the quays around Rosia Bay as their victualling yard.’
    give food to, provide food for, provide for, cater for, prepare food for, cook for, make a meal for, wine and dine
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Obtain or lay in food or other stores.
      ‘a voyage of such length, that no ship could victual for’
      • ‘After refuelling and victualling at Austal, Armidale headed north to Dampier where members of the sea training group were changed and contractors came on board to repair some minor defects to davits.’
      • ‘We may, if we choose, shift the boundaries between the two, since the boundaries are not immutable, and many things, such as navy victualling, can be done by either system.’
      • ‘For example, working out the victualling requirements (a mariner's term for food), noting the restricted galley facilities, passage planning, navigation, radio communications and, of course, sailing the yacht.’
      • ‘In fact, the costs of war on two fronts - and the switching of expensive Cinque Ports shipping and victualling up and down the east coast - were to become in future penal for an English monarchy challenged in Parliament by a powerful baronage.’
      • ‘For example, British India calculated ‘earnings, cargo carried to all ports and the freight rate applied, as well as passage times, victualling, fuel, loading and discharging costs’.’
    2. 1.2no object Eat.
      ‘victual with me next Saturday’


Middle English: from Old French vitaille, from late Latin victualia, neuter plural of Latin victualis, from victus ‘food’; related to vivere ‘to live’. The pronunciation still represents the early spelling vittel; later spelling has been influenced by the Latin form.