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carrot

[kar-uh t]
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noun
  1. a plant, Daucus carota, of the parsley family, having pinnately decompound leaves and umbels of small white or yellow flowers, in its wild form a widespread, familiar weed, and in cultivation valued for its edible root.
  2. the nutritious, orange to yellow root of this plant, eaten raw or cooked.
  3. something hoped for or promised as a lure or incentive: To boost productivity, leaders hinted at the carrot of subsidized housing for the workers.Compare stick1(def 8).
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verb (used with object)
  1. to treat (furs) with mercuric nitrate preparatory to felting.
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Origin of carrot

1525–35; < Middle French carotte < Late Latin carōta < Greek karōtón, derivative of kárē head, with suffix as in kephalōtón onion, derivative of kephalḗ head
Can be confusedcarat caret carrot karat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for carrot

carrot

noun
  1. an umbelliferous plant, Daucus carota sativa, with finely divided leaves and flat clusters of small white flowersSee also wild carrot
  2. the long tapering orange root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable
    1. something offered as a lure or incentive
    2. carrot and stickreward and punishment as methods of persuasion
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French carotte, from Late Latin carōta, from Greek karōton; perhaps related to Greek karē head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for carrot

n.

1530s, from Middle French carrotte, from Latin carota, from Greek karoton "carrot," probably from PIE *kre-, from root *ker- "horn, head" (see horn (n.)); so called for its horn-like shape.

Originally white-rooted and a medicinal plant to the ancients, who used it as an aphrodisiac and to prevent poisoning. Not entirely distinguished from parsnips in ancient times. Reintroduced in Europe by Arabs c.1100. The orange carrot, which existed perhaps as early as 6c., probably began as a mutation of the Asian purple carrot and was cultivated into the modern edible plant 16c.-17c. in the Netherlands. Thus the word is used as a color name but not before 1670s in English, originally of red hair.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper