[pab-yuh-luh m]
See more synonyms for pabulum on

Origin of pabulum

1670–80; < Latin pābulum food, nourishment, equivalent to pā(scere) to feed (akin to food) + -bulum noun suffix of instrument Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pabulum

food, support, nutriment, diet, sustenance, fuel, nutrient

Examples from the Web for pabulum

Historical Examples of pabulum

  • Pabulum is nothing without a preëxisting "something" to dispose of it.

  • If they do not, no pabulum ever after, will their indurated tissues assimilate.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • The grove gave them wood; the stream, water; the plain, pabulum for their horses.

    The War Trail

    Mayne Reid

  • Inflammable matter may be considered as the pabulum of life.

  • It offered no pabulum to the wrongdoer in the form of compensation for stolen humanity.

    The Abolitionists

    John F. Hume

British Dictionary definitions for pabulum


noun rare
  1. food
  2. food for thought, esp when bland or dull

Word Origin for pabulum

C17: from Latin, from pascere to feed
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 pabulum

"food" for anything, 1670s, from Latin pabulum "fodder, food, nourishment," from PIE root *pa- "to protect, feed" (see food) + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom.

Pablum (1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for infants and weak and invalid people, hence figurative use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in reference to "mushy" political prose.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper