a cereal grass, Setaria italica, extensively cultivated in the East and in southern Europe for its small seed, or grain, used as food for humans and fowls, but in the U.S. grown chiefly for fodder.
any of various related or similar grasses cultivated as grain plants or forage plants.
the grain of any of these grasses.

Origin of millet

1375–1425; late Middle English milet < Middle French, equivalent to mil (< Latin milium millet) + -et -et


[mi-ley; for 2 also French mee-le]


Francis Davis,1846–1912, U.S. painter, illustrator, and journalist.
Jean Fran·çois [zhahn frahn-swa] /ʒɑ̃ frɑ̃ˈswa/, 1814–75, French painter. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for millet

Contemporary Examples of millet

Historical Examples of millet

  • There was among them a superb Millet, which I should very much have liked to own.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • "Your pardon, brother Millet," he interrupted, and pointed towards Ralph's arms.

  • "Assuredly not," Justice Millet burst out, pulling his robes about him.

  • He took his little dog with him, giving him a millet dumpling now and then.

    Japanese Fairy World

    William Elliot Griffis

  • We began by sowing the cotton, then the fields of millet, maize, and beans.

    Perils and Captivity

    Charlotte-Adlade [ne Picard] Dard

British Dictionary definitions for millet



a cereal grass, Setaria italica, cultivated for grain and animal fodder
  1. an East Indian annual grass, Panicum miliaceum, cultivated for grain and forage, having pale round shiny seeds
  2. the seed of this plant
any of various similar or related grasses, such as pearl millet and Indian millet
Related formsRelated adjective: miliary

Word Origin for millet

C14: via Old French from Latin milium; related to Greek melinē millet



Jean François (ʒɑ̃ frɑ̃swa). 1814–75, French painter of the Barbizon school, noted for his studies of peasants at work
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 millet

cereal grain, c.1400, from Middle French millet, diminutive of mil "millet," from Latin milium "millet" (see mallet). Cognate with Greek meline, Lithuanian malnus (plural) "millet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper