[ pab-yuh-luh m ]
/ ˈpæb yə ləm /


something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment.
material for intellectual nourishment.

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

Examples from the Web for pabulum

British Dictionary definitions for pabulum


/ (ˈpæbjʊləm) /

noun rare

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