late 14c., "endowed with the power of growth," from Medieval Latin vegetativus, from past participle stem of vegetare (see vegetable (adj.)). Middle English transferred sense was "characterized by growth." Modern pathological sense of "brain-dead, mentally inert" is from 1893.
vegetative veg·e·ta·tive (věj'ĭ-tā'tĭv)
Of, relating to, or capable of growth.
Of or functioning in processes such as growth or nutrition rather than sexual reproduction.
Of or relating to asexual reproduction, such as fission or budding.
Of or relating to the resting stage of a cell or its nucleus.
Of or relating to a pathological vegetation.
Of or being a state of grossly impaired consciousness, as after severe head trauma or brain disease, in which an individual is incapable of voluntary or purposeful acts and only responds reflexively to painful stimuli.