[ let-is ]
/ ˈlɛt ɪs /


a cultivated plant, Lactuca sativa, occurring in many varieties and having succulent leaves used for salads.
any species of Lactuca.
Slang. U.S. dollar bills; greenbacks.

Origin of lettuce

1250–1300; 1925–30 for def 3; Middle English letuse, apparently < Old French laitues, plural of laitue < Latin lactūca a lettuce, perhaps derivative of lac, stem lact- milk, with termination as in erūca rocket2 (or by association with Greek galaktoûchos having milk)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lettuce

British Dictionary definitions for lettuce


/ (ˈlɛtɪs) /


any of various plants of the genus Lactuca, esp L. sativa, which is cultivated in many varieties for its large edible leaves: family Asteraceae (composites)
the leaves of any of these varieties, which are eaten in salads
any of various plants that resemble true lettuce, such as lamb's lettuce and sea lettuce

Word Origin for lettuce

C13: probably from Old French laitues, pl of laitue, from Latin lactūca, from lac- milk, because of its milky juice
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 lettuce



late 13c., probably from Old French laitues, plural of laitue "lettuce," from Latin lactuca "lettuce," from lac (genitive lactis) "milk" (see lactation); so called for the milky juice of the plant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper