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[fen-l] /ˈfɛn l/
a plant, Foeniculum vulgare, of the parsley family, having feathery leaves and umbels of small, yellow flowers.
Also, fennel seed. the aromatic fruits of this plant, used in cookery and medicine.
any of various more or less similar plants, as Ferula communis (giant fennel) a tall, ornamental plant.
Origin of fennel
before 900; Middle English fenel, Old English fenol, variant of finu(g)l < Vulgar Latin *fenuclum, for Latin fēniculum, faeniculum, equivalent to faeni- (combining form of faenum hay) + -culum -cle1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fennel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • fennel, for instance, emblemised flattery, and columbine ingratitude.


    Benjamin Taylor
  • fennel is sometimes propagated by a division of the roots and by offsets.

  • Follow me then; and on your love for fennel, see nothing of the way in which I lead you.

    Robin Hood Paul Creswick
  • "Allan-a-Dale and fennel shall go with you, dear heart," said Robin.

    Robin Hood Paul Creswick
  • Then they chew thyme or rock-parsley or fennel, or rub their hands with these plants.

    The City of the Sun Tommaso Campanella
British Dictionary definitions for fennel


a strong-smelling yellow-flowered umbelliferous plant, Foeniculum vulgare, whose seeds and feathery leaves are used to season and flavour food See also finocchio
another name for mayweed
Word Origin
Old English fenol, from Latin faeniculum fennel, diminutive of faenum hay
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
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Word Origin and History for fennel

Old English fenol, finul, perhaps via (or influenced by) Old French fenoil or directly from Vulgar Latin fenuculum, from Latin feniculum, diminutive of fenum, faenum "hay," probably literally "produce" (see fecund). Apparently so called from its hay-like appearance and sweet odor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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