Definition of victual in English:



  • Food or provisions.

    ‘turkey and other savoury victuals were served’
    • ‘Ma always made good food, if the atmosphere at the table wasn't the best, the victuals were always top notch…’
    • ‘Bangkok's so awash in quality victuals, it's tough to stand out from the pack.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So I stowed, in waterproof containers, in the back of my canoe, victuals and wine and a picnic blanket and other such finery.’
    • ‘Shall we go sate my appetite for perishable victuals, my ever-loving husband?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ah, all done, you'll be better within the hour, now I must go fetch you two some victuals.’
    • ‘As was the custom at the time, he went to the house of the poet of Niall to ask for victuals for the journey.’
    • ‘If a man were sick and obliged to stay within, no victuals for him that day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Next I had to fling some victuals into the sucking void of self-digesting agony that was my stomach.’
    • ‘Feeling a bit hungry from my long cruise, however, I begged off and looked for some victuals.’
    • ‘And then I remembered the cider in my ice-chest, and after victuals and a brief respite, the evening started.’
    • ‘During that time she only ate mild herbs and light victuals.’
    • ‘And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of The Lord.’
    • ‘I declined the victuals although others partook of cheese, crackers and fruit cake.’
    • ‘After the round of introductions, it was time for some victuals.’


  • 1 Provide with food or other stores.

    ‘the ship wasn't even properly victualled’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘For the first century the Royal Navy used the quays around Rosia Bay as their victualling yard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Child made his money victualling the navy and lived at Portsmouth before developing a great estate at Wanstead in Essex.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A whole new industry was created and the steep sides of the Douro valley terraced and planted to victual the English shires.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1archaic [no object]Obtain or lay in food or other stores.
      ‘a voyage of such length, that no ship could victual for’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2archaic [no 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.