a. A Eurasian plant (Foeniculum vulgare) in the parsley family, having pinnate leaves and clusters of small yellow flowers grouped in umbels, cultivated for its aromatic seeds and edible stalks.
b. The seeds or stalks of this plant.
2. A variety of fennel whose seeds are used as flavoring. Also called sweet fennel.
3. A variety of fennel whose bulbous, celerylike stalks are eaten as a vegetable. Also called finocchio, Florence fennel.
4. See giant fennel.
[Middle English fenel, from Old English fenol, from Latin fēnuculum, variant of faeniculum, diminutive of faenum, fēnum, hay; see dhē(i)- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)fennel
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus