- 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
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for giant fennel
- a strong-smelling yellow-flowered umbelliferous plant, Foeniculum vulgare, whose seeds and feathery leaves are used to season and flavour foodSee also finocchio
- another name for mayweed
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
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Word Origin and History for giant 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