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90s Slang You Should Know


[pab-yuh-luh m] /ˈpæb yə ləm/
something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment.
material for intellectual nourishment.
pablum (def 2).
Origin of pabulum
1670-80; < Latin pābulum food, nourishment, equivalent to pā(scere) to feed (akin to food) + -bulum noun suffix of instrument Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pabulum
Historical Examples
  • Being aware that she was a woman of culture his desire was simply to supply her with the pabulum that she would expect.

  • pabulum is nothing without a preëxisting "something" to dispose of it.

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • Of the four cells only the third develops into an ovum; the remainder are used as pabulum.

  • If they do not, no pabulum ever after, will their indurated tissues assimilate.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • It offered no pabulum to the wrongdoer in the form of compensation for stolen humanity.

    The Abolitionists John F. Hume
  • They mean that the public is to be given up, not as a heathen land for conversion, but simply as a pabulum for experiment.

    Eugenics and Other Evils G. K. Chesterton
  • Inflammable matter may be considered as the pabulum of life.

  • Bearcroft the classic observed to him, that learning was pabulum animi, food of the mind.

    The Punster's Pocket-book Charles Molloy Westmacott
  • But our ingenious professor of Jena dispenses with both the hare and the curry, in serving up his pabulum to the "protamoebæ."

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • To remove the leaves and fallen twigs is to withdraw much of the pabulum upon which the tree was destined to feed.

    Man and Nature George P. Marsh
British Dictionary definitions for pabulum


noun (rare)
food for thought, esp when bland or dull
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from pascere to feed
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 pabulum

"food" for anything, 1670s, from Latin pabulum "fodder, food, nourishment," from PIE root *pa- "to protect, feed" (see food) + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom.

Pablum (1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for infants and weak and invalid people, hence figurative use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in reference to "mushy" political prose.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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