The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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, to be lively, akin to vigere to be
lively, to thrive, vigil watchful, awake, and probably to E.
wake, v. See Vigil, Wake, v.]
1. Of or pertaining to plants; having the nature of, or
produced by, plants; as, a vegetable nature; vegetable
growths, juices, etc.
Blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold. --Milton.
2. Consisting of, or comprising, plants; as, the vegetable
Vegetable alkali (Chem.), an alkaloid.
Vegetable brimstone. (Bot.) See Vegetable sulphur, below.
Vegetable butter (Bot.), a name of several kinds of
concrete vegetable oil; as that produced by the Indian
butter tree, the African shea tree, and the Pentadesma
butyracea, a tree of the order Guttiferae, also
African. Still another kind is pressed from the seeds of
Vegetable flannel, a textile material, manufactured in
Germany from pine-needle wool, a down or fiber obtained
from the leaves of the Pinus sylvestris.
Vegetable ivory. See Ivory nut, under Ivory.
Vegetable jelly. See Pectin.
Vegetable kingdom. (Nat. Hist.) See the last Phrase, below.
(a) (Bot.) A shrubby West Indian spurge (Euphorbia
punicea), with leathery foliage and crimson bracts.
(b) See Vegetable leather, under Leather.
Vegetable marrow (Bot.), an egg-shaped gourd, commonly
eight to ten inches long. It is noted for the very tender
quality of its flesh, and is a favorite culinary vegetable
in England. It has been said to be of Persian origin, but
is now thought to have been derived from a form of the
Vegetable oyster (Bot.), the oyster plant. See under
Vegetable parchment, papyrine.
Vegetable sheep (Bot.), a white woolly plant (Raoulia
eximia) of New Zealand, which grows in the form of large
fleecy cushions on the mountains.
Vegetable silk, a cottonlike, fibrous material obtained
from the coating of the seeds of a Brazilian tree
(Chorisia speciosa). It is used for various purposes, as
for stuffing cushions, and the like, but is incapable of
being spun on account of a want of cohesion among the
Vegetable sponge. See 1st Loof.
Vegetable sulphur, the fine and highly inflammable spores
of the club moss (Lycopodium clavatum); witch meal.
Vegetable tallow, a substance resembling tallow, obtained
from various plants; as, Chinese vegetable tallow,
obtained from the seeds of the tallow tree. Indian
vegetable tallow is a name sometimes given to piney
Vegetable wax, a waxy excretion on the leaves or fruits of
certain plants, as the bayberry.
Vegetable kingdom (Nat. Hist.), that primary division of
living things which includes all plants. The classes of
the vegetable kingdom have been grouped differently by
various botanists. The following is one of the best of the
many arrangements of the principal subdivisions.
[1913 Webster] I. Phaenogamia (called also
Phanerogamia). Plants having distinct flowers and true
seeds. [ 1. Dicotyledons (called also Exogens). --
Seeds with two or more cotyledons. Stems with the pith,
woody fiber, and bark concentrically arranged. Divided
into two subclasses: Angiosperms, having the woody fiber
interspersed with dotted or annular ducts, and the seeds
contained in a true ovary; Gymnosperms, having few or no
ducts in the woody fiber, and the seeds naked. 2.
Monocotyledons (called also Endogens). -- Seeds with
single cotyledon. Stems with slender bundles of woody
fiber not concentrically arranged, and with no true bark.]
[1913 Webster] II. Cryptogamia. Plants without true
flowers, and reproduced by minute spores of various kinds,
or by simple cell division. [ 1. Acrogens. -- Plants
usually with distinct stems and leaves, existing in two
alternate conditions, one of which is nonsexual and
sporophoric, the other sexual and oophoric. Divided into
Vascular Acrogens, or Pteridophyta, having the
sporophoric plant conspicuous and consisting partly of
vascular tissue, as in Ferns, Lycopods, and Equiseta, and
Cellular Acrogens, or Bryophyta, having the sexual
plant most conspicuous, but destitute of vascular tissue,
as in Mosses and Scale Mosses. 2. Thallogens. -- Plants
without distinct stem and leaves, consisting of a simple
or branched mass of cellular tissue, or reduced to a
single cell. Reproduction effected variously. Divided into
Algae, which contain chlorophyll or its equivalent, and
which live upon air and water, and Fungi, which contain
no chlorophyll, and live on organic matter. (Lichens are
now believed to be fungi parasitic on included algae.]
Note: Many botanists divide the Phaenogamia primarily into
Gymnosperms and Angiosperms, and the latter into
Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons. Others consider
Pteridophyta and Bryophyta to be separate classes.
Thallogens are variously divided by different writers,
and the places for diatoms, slime molds, and stoneworts
are altogether uncertain.
[1913 Webster] For definitions, see these names in the