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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pabulum
Historical Examples
  • pabulum is nothing without a preëxisting "something" to dispose of it.

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • If they do not, no pabulum ever after, will their indurated tissues assimilate.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • The grove gave them wood; the stream, water; the plain, pabulum for their horses.

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • Inflammable matter may be considered as the pabulum of life.

  • It offered no pabulum to the wrongdoer in the form of compensation for stolen humanity.

    The Abolitionists John F. Hume
  • It also provides the pabulum for the caterpillar of the Holly-blue butterfly (Lycæna argiolus).

  • 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
  • It fairly slobbered with the froth of sensation—lived on scandal, and obtained its pabulum by any and every means.

    The Case and Exceptions

    Frederick Trevor Hill
  • Being aware that she was a woman of culture his desire was simply to supply her with the pabulum that she would expect.

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

    The Punster's Pocket-book Charles Molloy Westmacott
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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