vegetable


vegetable
/vej"teuh beuhl, vej"i teuh-/, n.
1. any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, as the tomato, bean, beet, potato, onion, asparagus, spinach, or cauliflower.
2. the edible part of such a plant, as the tuber of the potato.
3. any member of the vegetable kingdom; plant.
4. Informal. a person who is so severely impaired mentally or physically as to be largely incapable of conscious responses or activity.
5. a dull, spiritless, and uninteresting person.
adj.
6. of, consisting of, or made from edible vegetables: a vegetable diet.
7. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of plants: the vegetable kingdom.
8. derived from plants: vegetable fiber; vegetable oils.
9. consisting of, comprising, or containing the substance or remains of plants: vegetable matter; a vegetable organism.
10. of the nature of or resembling a plant: the vegetable forms of Art Nouveau ornament.
11. inactive; inert; dull; uneventful: a vegetable existence.
[1350-1400; ME (adj.) < LL vegetabilis able to live and grow, equiv. to vegeta(re) to quicken (see VEGETATE) + -bilis -BLE]

* * *

In the broadest sense, all plant life and plant products (vegetable matter); in common, narrow usage, the fresh edible portion of herbaceous plants (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruit), either eaten fresh or prepared in some way.

Almost all current vegetables were cultivated in ancient Old or New World civilizations, though some have been greatly modified. Vegetables are good sources of minerals (especially calcium and iron), vitamins (especially A and C), and dietary fiber. All the amino acids needed to synthesize protein are available in vegetables. Fresh vegetables quickly age and spoil, but their storage life can be extended by such preservation methods as dehydration, canning, freezing, fermenting, and pickling.

* * *

food
 in the broadest sense, any kind of plant life or plant product, namely “vegetable matter”; in common, narrow usage, the term vegetable usually refers to the fresh edible portion of a herbaceous plant—roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruit. These plant parts are either eaten fresh or prepared in a number of ways.

      A brief treatment of vegetables and vegetable farming follows. For information on particular vegetables, see carrot, potato, and so on. For treatment of vegetable cultivation, see vegetable farming. For treatment of the nutrient composition and processing of vegetables, see vegetable processing.

 Virtually all of the more important vegetables were cultivated among the ancient civilizations of either the Old or the New World. Some, such as the cucumber, potato, sweet corn (maize), and onion, have been so changed by cultivation that their wild ancestors can no longer be identified with certainty.

 Vegetables are usually classified on the basis of the part of the plant that is used for food. The root vegetables include beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips. Stem vegetables include asparagus and kohlrabi. Among the edible tubers, or underground stems, are potatoes. The leaf and leafstalk vegetables include brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, lettuce, rhubarb, and spinach. Among the bulb vegetables are garlic, leeks, and onions. The head, or flower, vegetables include artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower. The fruits commonly considered vegetables by virtue of their use include beans, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, sweet corn, squash, peppers, and tomatoes.

      Most fresh vegetables have a water content in excess of 70 percent, with only about 3.5 percent protein and less than 1 percent fat. Vegetables, however, are good sources of minerals, especially calcium and iron, and vitamins, principally A and C.

      Modern vegetable farming ranges from small-scale production for local sale to vast commercial operations utilizing the latest advances in automation and technology. Most vegetables are planted by seeding in the fields where they are to be grown, but occasionally they are germinated in a nursery or greenhouse and transplanted as seedlings to the field. During the growing season herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are commonly used to inhibit damage by weeds, insects, and diseases, respectively. Harvesting operations are usually mechanized in well-developed nations, but the practice of harvesting by hand is still employed in some areas or is used in conjunction with machine operations. Another concern of the vegetable farmer is postharvest storage, which may require refrigerated facilities.

      Vegetables may be washed, sorted, graded, cut, and packaged for sale as fresh products. Fresh vegetables are subject to quick aging and spoilage, but their storage life can be extended by such preservation processes as dehydration, canning, freezing, fermenting, or pickling.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vegetable — Veg e*ta*ble, a. [F. v[ e]g[ e]table growing, capable of growing, formerly also, as a noun, a vegetable, from L. vegetabilis enlivening, from vegetare to enliven, invigorate, quicken, vegetus enlivened, vigorous, active, vegere to quicken, arouse …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • végétable — ⇒VÉGÉTABLE, adj. Rare, vieilli. [Corresp. à végéter A] Qui peut végéter. Cet arbre est sec, il n y a plus rien de végétable, ni dans le tronc, ni dans la racine (Ac. 1798 1878). Prononc. et Orth.:[ ]. Att. ds Ac. 1694 1878. Ac. 1694, 1718: vege …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • vegetable — [vej′tə bəl, vej′ə təbəl] adj. [ME < ML vegetabilis, vegetative, capable of growth < LL, animating, enlivening < L vegetare: see VEGETATE] 1. of, or having the nature of, plants in general [the vegetable kingdom] 2. of, having the nature …   English World dictionary

  • vegetable — (del lat. «vegetabĭlis») adj. y n. m. Vegetal. * * * vegetable. (Del lat. vegetabĭlis). adj. p. us. vegetal. U. t. c. s. m …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • vegetable — Vegetable. adj. de t. g. Qui peut vegeter. Cet arbre est sec, il n y a plus rien de vegetable ny dans le tronc ny dans la racine …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Vegetable — Veg e*ta*ble, n. 1. (Biol.) A plant. See {Plant}. [1913 Webster] 2. A plant used or cultivated for food for man or domestic animals, as the cabbage, turnip, potato, bean, dandelion, etc.; also, the edible part of such a plant, as prepared for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vegetable — [n] edible part of plant edible, green, greens, herb, herbaceous plant, legume, produce, root, salad, truck, yellow; concept 431 …   New thesaurus

  • vegetable — (Del lat. vegetabĭlis). adj. p. us. vegetal. U. t. c. s. m.) …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • vegetable — ► NOUN 1) a plant or part of a plant used as food. 2) informal, derogatory a person who is incapable of normal mental or physical activity, especially through brain damage. ORIGIN originally in the sense «growing as a plant»: from Latin… …   English terms dictionary

  • Vegetable — For other uses, see Vegetable (disambiguation). Farmers market showing vegetable …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.