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This page has 4 definitions of food in English. Food is a noun. Examples of how to use food in a sentence are shown. Also define these 7 related words and terms: substance, eat, foodstuff, belly-timber, provender, brainfood, and drug.



From Middle English fode, foode, from Old English fōda (food), from Proto-West Germanic *fōdō, from Proto-Germanic *fōdô (food), from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂- (to guard, graze, feed).

Cognate with Scots fuid (food), Low German föde, vöde (food), West Frisian fiedsel (food), Dutch voedsel (food) Danish føde (food), Swedish föda (food), Icelandic fæða, fæði (food), Gothic 𐍆𐍉𐌳𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 (fōdeins, food), Latin pānis (bread, food), Latin pāscō (feed, nourish, verb). Related to fodder, foster.



Various foods

food (usually uncountable, plural foods)

  1. (uncountable) Any solid substance that can be consumed by living organisms, especially by eating, in order to sustain life.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:food
    The innkeeper brought them food and drink.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes like
        Here's rattling good luck and roaring good cheer, / With lashings of food and great hogsheads of beer. […]”
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, pages 72–3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (countable) A foodstuff.
    Synonyms: (archaic, now only humorous or regional) belly-timber, foodstuff, provender; see also Thesaurus:food
    • 2006, C Williams, J Buttriss, Improving the Fat Content of Foods, →ISBN, page 492:
      Variation and changes in the trans fatty acid content of different foods, especially in processed foods, further complicate such estimates.
  3. (uncountable, figuratively) Anything that nourishes or sustains.
    Hyponym: brainfood
    The man's inspiring speech gave us food for thought.
    Mozart and Bach are food for my soul.
  4. (uncountable, MLE) Any illegal substance or illegal substances, drugs.
    • 2009 March 17, “Next Hype” (track 3), in All-Star Pars[2], performed by Tempa T:
      What kind of things that you have. When I find out don't expect me to stop. I'll come for the P's that you stack. And come for the food that you blot.
    • 2015, Stormzy (lyrics and music), “Shut Up” (track 15), in Gang Signs & Prayer, performed by Stormzy:
      I'm so London, I'm so south / Food in the ends like there ain't no drought / Flipz don't talk like he's got no mouth
    • 2016 March 4, “3 Wheel-Ups” (track 4), in Made in the Manor[3], performed by Kano (British musician),Giggs (rapper),Wiley (musician):
      [Verse 2:Kano]:If you've been shotting in the manor from way back when and you ain't on a kilo ting, I don't wanna hear about cunch and food and tings, man don't do those tings.

Usage notes

  • Adjectives often applied to "food": raw, cooked, baked, fried, grilled, processed, healthy, unhealthy, wholesome, nutritious, safe, toxic, tainted, adulterated, tasty, delicious, fresh, stale, sweet, sour, spicy, exotic, marine.


Derived terms

Related terms


See also

Further reading