[pee-nuht, -nuh t]


the pod or the enclosed edible seed of the plant, Arachis hypogaea, of the legume family: the pod is forced underground in growing, where it ripens.
the plant itself.
any small or insignificant person or thing.
  1. Informal.a very small amount of money: working for peanuts.
  2. Slang.barbiturates.
  3. small pieces of Styrofoam used as a packing material.


Origin of peanut

An Americanism dating back to 1790–1800; pea1 + nut
Related formspea·nut·ty, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for peanut

groundnut, earth, seed, goober, mani

Examples from the Web for peanut

Contemporary Examples of peanut

  • A famous 1916 publication proclaimed: “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it For Human Consumption.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Growth Stocks

    The Daily Beast

    October 17, 2014

  • The following year, he testified before Congress about the U.S. peanut industry.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Growth Stocks

    The Daily Beast

    October 17, 2014

  • Titanic once bet a peanut vendor $10 he could throw a peanut across Times Square in New York.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Portrait of the Consummate Con Man

    John Lardner

    May 17, 2014

  • Soon Johnny Carson was having more fun with Cleveland and its mayor than a monkey with a peanut.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Three Strikes for Cleveland?

    Mansfield Frazier

    July 25, 2013

  • The media and peanut gallery missed that class and immediately cast them as “others.”

Historical Examples of peanut

  • Did you ever notice how tiresome the whistle on a peanut roaster gets?

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Why is the whistle of a peanut roaster so shrill, and why is the whistle of a boat so deep?

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • A camel is indistinguishable from a peanut—if only their humps be considered.

  • My lady, do you happen to have such a thing as a peanut in your pocket?

  • Before it dries, the peanut seed is easily injured by frost.

    Agriculture for Beginners

    Charles William Burkett

British Dictionary definitions for peanut



  1. a leguminous plant, Arachis hypogaea, of tropical America: widely cultivated for its edible seeds. The seed pods are forced underground where they ripenSee also hog peanut
  2. Also called: goober, goober pea, (Brit) groundnut, (Brit) monkey nutthe edible nutlike seed of this plant, used for food and as a source of oil
See also peanuts
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 peanut

1807, earlier ground nut, ground pea (1769). The plant is native to S.America. Portuguese traders took peanuts from Brazil and Peru to Africa by 1502 and it is known to have been cultivated in Chekiang Province in China by 1573, probably arriving with Portuguese sailors who made stops in Brazil en route to the Orient. Peanut butter attested by 1892; peanut brittle is from 1894. Peanut gallery "topmost rows of a theater" is from 1874, American English; peanuts "trivial sum" is from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper