1. a plant, Vigna unguiculata, extensively cultivated in the southern U.S. for forage, soil improvement, etc.
  2. the seed of this plant, used for food.

Origin of cowpea

An Americanism dating back to 1810–20; cow1 + pea1
Also called black-eyed pea. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of cowpea

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British Dictionary definitions for cowpea


  1. a leguminous tropical climbing plant, Vigna sinensis, producing long pods containing edible pealike seeds: grown for animal fodder and sometimes as human food
  2. Also called: black-eyed pea the seed of this plant
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