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June 14, 2019 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"vegetable"
Definition--A plant or plant part, other than fruits and seeds, used for food. The edible part may be root, leaf, or flower. Also used in the sense of any plant--a member of the vegetable kingdom.

Discussion--One of the frequent uses of the term vegetable today, in the sense of one who lacks conscious reasoning ability, belies the term's earlier roots. Before vegetable was used as a general term for a plant or a more specific term for certain edible plants and long before it was used to describe an nonresponsive person, it was used more generally to mean something that was enlivening or flourishing.

As the middle entry in the common query--"Animal, vegetable, or mineral?"--vegetable holds a special middle ground between the consciousness of humans and other animals and the total unconsciousness nature of minerals and other elements of life.

So eat your vegetables and avoid becoming a "vegetable".

Etymology--Vegetable comes from the Medieval Latin vegetabilis, meaning growing or flourishing. The Medieval Latin came from the Late Latin vegetabilis, meaning animating or enlivening. The Late Latin came from the Latin vegetare, meaning to enliven.

Many of the languages below show different roots from the terms for green or verdant.

   Foreign Translations
Dutch:  groente (de)
French:  lègume (m)
German:  Gemuse (pl)
Italian:  verdure
Spanish:  hortaliza, verdura

Jane Ellis      Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook

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