1. A substance that gives nourishment; food.
2. Intellectual material that is bland, trite, or insipid; pablum: "TV ... gobbled up comedy material and spat it out as pabulum" (Richard Corliss).
[Latin pābulum; see pā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. Sense 2, by confusion with PABLUM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.