any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.
more or less solid nourishment, as distinguished from liquids.
a particular kind of solid nourishment: a breakfast food; dog food.
whatever supplies nourishment to organisms: plant food.
anything serving for consumption or use: food for thought.

Origin of food

before 1000; Middle English fode, Old English fōda; compare Old English fēdan, Gothic fōdjan to feed; cf. fodder, foster
Related formsfood·less, adjectivefood·less·ness, nounnon·food, noun, adjective

Synonyms for food

1. nutriment, aliment, bread, sustenance, victuals; meat, viands; diet, menu.

Synonym study

1. Food, fare, provisions, ration ( s ) all refer to nutriment. Food is the general word: Breakfast foods have become very popular. Many animals prefer grass as food. Fare refers to the whole range of foods that may nourish a person or animal: an extensive bill of fare; The fare of some animals is limited in range. Provisions is applied to a store or stock of necessary things, especially food, prepared beforehand: provisions for a journey. Ration implies an allotment or allowance of provisions: a daily ration for each man of a company. Rations often means food in general: to be on short rations. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for food

Contemporary Examples of food

Historical Examples of food

  • If the West stopped producin' men fur you, you'd be as bad off as if it stopped producin' food.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Uncle Peter had first declared that the thought of food sickened him.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Still, one kind of food cloys after a time, and so our new settlers found it.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The History of Man is the record of a hungry creature in search of food.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • He found the district to the north to be a dreary waste, destitute of food and water.

British Dictionary definitions for food



any substance containing nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, that can be ingested by a living organism and metabolized into energy and body tissueRelated adjective: alimentary
nourishment in more or less solid form as opposed to liquid formfood and drink
anything that provides mental nourishment or stimulusfood for thought
Derived Formsfoodless, adjective

Word Origin for food

Old English fōda; related to Old Frisian fōdia to nourish, feed, Old Norse fœthi, Gothic fōdeins food; see feed, fodder
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

Word Origin and History for food

Old English foda "food, nourishment; fuel," also figurative, from Proto-Germanic *fodon (cf. Gothic fodeins), from Germanic root *fod-, equivalent of PIE *pa- "to tend, keep, pasture, to protect, to guard, to feed" (cf. Greek pateisthai "to feed;" Latin pabulum "food, fodder," panis "bread," pasci "to feed," pascare "to graze, pasture, feed," pastor "shepherd," literally "feeder;" Avestan pitu- "food;" Old Church Slavonic pasti "feed cattle, pasture;" Russian pishcha "food").

Food chain is from 1917. Food poisoning attested by 1864; food processor in the kitchen appliance sense from 1973.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for food




Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.