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verb (used without object)
  1. to begin to grow; shoot forth, as a plant from a seed.
  2. (of a seed or plant) to put forth buds or shoots.
  3. to develop or grow quickly: a boy awkwardly sprouting into manhood.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to sprout.
  2. to remove sprouts from: Sprout and boil the potatoes.
  1. a shoot of a plant.
  2. a new growth from a germinating seed, or from a rootstock, tuber, bud, or the like.
  3. something resembling or suggesting a sprout, as in growth.
  4. a young person; youth.
  5. sprouts,
    1. the young shoots of alfalfa, soybeans, etc., eaten as a raw vegetable.
    2. Brussels sprout.

Origin of sprout

1150–1200; (v.) Middle English spr(o)uten, Old English -sprūtan, in āsproten (past participle; see a-3); cognate with Middle Dutch sprūten, German spriessen to sprout; akin to Greek speírein to scatter; (noun) Middle English; compare Middle Dutch, Middle Low German sprute
Related formsnon·sprout·ing, adjectivere·sprout, verbun·der·sprout, nounun·der·sprout, verb (used without object)un·sprout·ed, adjectiveun·sprout·ing, adjective

Synonyms for sprout

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sprout

germinate, grow, burgeon, shoot, spring, push, bud, vegetate

Examples from the Web for sprout

Contemporary Examples of sprout

Historical Examples of sprout

British Dictionary definitions for sprout


  1. (of a plant, seed, etc) to produce (new leaves, shoots, etc)
  2. (intr often foll by up) to begin to grow or developnew office blocks are sprouting up all over the city
  1. a newly grown shoot or bud
  2. something that grows like a sprout
  3. See Brussels sprout

Word Origin for sprout

Old English sprūtan; related to Middle High German sprūzen to sprout, Lettish sprausties to jostle
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 sprout

Old English -sprutan (in asprutan "to sprout"), from Proto-Germanic *spreutanan (cf. Old Saxon sprutan, Old Frisian spruta, Middle Dutch spruten, Old High German spriozan, German sprießen "to sprout"), from PIE root *sper- "to strew" (cf. Greek speirein "to scatter," spora "a scattering, sowing," sperma "sperm, seed," literally "that which is scattered;" Old English spreawlian "to sprawl," -sprædan "to spread," spreot "pole;" Armenian sprem "scatter;" Old Lithuanian sprainas "staring;" Lettish spriezu "I span, I measure"). Related: Sprouted; sprouting.


"shoot of a plant, sprout; a twig," Old English sprota (see sprout (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper