[leg-yoom, li-gyoom]


any plant of the legume family, especially those used for feed, food, or as a soil-improving crop.
the pod or seed vessel of such a plant.
any table vegetable of the legume family.

Origin of legume

1670–80; < French légume vegetable < Latin legūmen pulse, a leguminous plant, derivative of legere to gather
Related formsnon·leg·ume, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for legume

produce, salad, herb, edible, yellow, truck, green, root

Examples from the Web for legume

Contemporary Examples of legume

Historical Examples of legume

  • The pod or legume, which splits into two valves, with placenta on one side.

    Field and Woodland Plants

    William S. Furneaux

  • The legume has only one or two seeds, and it is so small as generally to be hidden by the calyx.

  • Legume, a simple pod which dehisces in two pieces, like that of the Pea, 122.

  • Pod, specially a legume, 122; also may be applied to any sort of capsule.

  • Legume, a plant belonging to the bean, pea and clover family.

    The First Book of Farming

    Charles L. Goodrich

British Dictionary definitions for legume



the long dry dehiscent fruit produced by leguminous plants; a pod
any table vegetable of the family Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae), esp beans or peas
any leguminous plant

Word Origin for legume

C17: from French légume, from Latin legūmen bean, from legere to pick (a crop)
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 legume

plant of the group of the pulse family, 1670s, from French légume (16c.), from Latin legumen "pulse, leguminous plant," of unknown origin. One suggestion ties it to Latin legere "to gather" (see lecture (n.)), because they can be scooped by the handful. Used in Middle English in the Latin form legumen (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

legume in Science


[lĕgyōōm′, lə-gyōōm]

Any of a large number of eudicot plants belonging to the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae). Their characteristic fruit is a seed pod. Legumes live in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in structures called nodules on their roots. These bacteria are able to take nitrogen from the air, which is in a form that plants cannot use, and convert it into compounds that the plants can use. Many legumes are widely cultivated for food, as fodder for livestock, and as a means of improving the nitrogen content of soils. Beans, peas, clover, alfalfa, locust trees, and acacia trees are all legumes.
The seed pod of such a plant.
Related formsleguminous adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.