This page has 8 definitions of victual in English. Victual is a noun and verb. Also define these 23 related words and terms: food, fit, human, animal, consumption, supply, provision, edible, plant, grain, kind, military, nautical, provide, troop, place, ship, stock, victual, lay in, procure, flour, and eat.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈvɪtl̩/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈvɪt(ə)l/, [-ɾ(ə)l]
- Rhymes: -ɪtəl
- Hyphenation: vic‧tual
From Middle English vitaile, vitaylle (“food; food and drink, especially as needed for sustenance; (usually in the plural) food and drink stores or supplies; rations; provision of food and drink as a military stipend; crops”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman vitaile, vitaille [and other forms] and Old French vitaile, vitaille, victaille (“food, provisions, victuals”) [and other forms] (modern French victuaille), from Late Latin victuālia, the neuter plural of vīctuālis (“nutritional”), from Latin vīctus (“that which sustains life, diet, nourishment, provision”) + -ālis (suffix forming adjectives of relationship from nouns). Vīctus is derived from vīvō (“to live; to be alive, survive; to reside in”) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʷeyh₃- (“to live”)) + -tus (suffix forming action nouns from verbs).
The spelling of the modern English and French words has been influenced by Late Latin victuālia, though the pronunciation of the Middle English, Anglo-Norman, and Middle French words has been retained.
victual (plural victuals)
- (archaic) Food fit for human (or occasionally animal) consumption.
- 1580, Thomas Tusser, “Septembers Husbandrie”, in Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie: […], London: […] Henrie Denham [beeing the assigne of William Seres] […], OCLC 837741850; republished as W[illiam] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. […], London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., […], 1878, OCLC 7391867535, stanza 23, page 41:
- Shift bore (for il aire) as best ye do thinke, / and twise a day giue him fresh vittle and drinke: […]
- c. 1590–1591, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i], page 24, column 2:
- [T]hough the Cameleon Loue can feed on the ayre, I am one that am nouriſh'd by my victuals; and would faine have meate: [...]
- 1631, [Francis Bacon], “VII. Century. [Experiments in Consort, Touching the Affinities, and Differences, of Plants, and Liuing Creatures: And the Confiners and Participles of Them.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. […], 3rd edition, London: […] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee […], paragraph 649, page 159, OCLC 1044372886:
- [T]he Making of Things Inalimentall, to become Alimentall, may be an Experiment of great Profit, for Making new Victuall.
- 1662, [Samuel Butler], “[The First Part of Hudibras]”, in Hudibras. The First and Second Parts. […], London: […] John Martyn and Henry Herringman, […], published 1678, OCLC 890163163; republished in A[lfred] R[ayney] Waller, editor, Hudibras: Written in the Time of the Late Wars, Cambridge: At the University Press, 1905, OCLC 963614346, canto II, page 35:
- For as the Teeth in Beasts of Prey / Are Swords, with which they fight in Fray. / So Swords in Men of War, are Teeth, / Which they do eat their Vittle with.
- 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], 3rd edition, London: […] W[illiam] Taylor […], published 1719, OCLC 838630407, page 267:
- Friday told me, ſuch a Boat would do very well, and would carry much enough Vittle, Drink, Bread, that was his Way of Talking.
- 1723, Jonathan Swift, “Stella at Wood Park, […]”, in Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols, editors, The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, […], volume VII, new edition, London: […] J[oseph] Johnson, […], published 1801, OCLC 1184656746, page 255:
- I must confess your wine and vittle / I was too hard upon a little: / Your table neat, your linen fine; / And though in miniature, you shine: […]
- 1771–1790, Benjamin Franklin, “The Autobiography [Part 1]”, in John Bigelow, editor, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. […], Philadelphia, Pa.: J[oshua] B[allinger] Lippincott & Co., published 1868, OCLC 175011656, page 130:
- He [Samuel Keimer] was usually a great glutton, and I promised myself some diversion in half starving him. He agreed to try the practice, if I would keep him company. I did so, and we held it for three months. We had our victuals dress'd, and brought to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, who had from me a list of forty dishes, to be prepar'd for us at different times, in all which there was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteen pence sterling each per week.
- a. 1797, Robert Burns; James Johnson, compiler, “[No. 543] Robin Shure in Hairst. […]”, in The Scots Musical Museum: […], volume V, Edinburgh: […] James Johnson […], published 1796, OCLC 219473961, page 562:
- Robin promis'd me / A' my winter vittle; / Fient haet he had but three / Goos feathers and whittle.
- 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, “From which It will be Seen that Martin Became a Lion on His Own Account. Together with the Reason Why.”, in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1844, OCLC 977517776, page 110:
- [D]inner was announced by Bailey junior in these terms: "The wittles is up!"
- 1896, A[lfred] E[dward] Housman, “[Poem] LXII”, in A Shropshire Lad, New York, N.Y.: John Lane Company, The Bodley Head, published 1906, OCLC 863109715, stanza 1, page 91:
- 'Terence, this is stupid stuff: / You eat your victuals fast enough; / There can't be much amiss, 't is clear, / To see the rate you drink your beer.[']
Animal definitionA eukaryote of the clade Animalia; a multicellular organism that is usually mobile, whose cells are not encased in a rigid cell wall (distinguishing it from plants and fungi) and which derives energy solely from the consumption of other organisms (distinguishing it from plants). (1 of 6 animal definitions)
Consumption definitionThe act of eating, drinking or using. (1 of 5 consumption definitions)
- (archaic, chiefly in the plural) Food supplies; provisions.
- 1603, Richard Knolles, “The First Kingdome of the Turks Erected in Persia by Tangrolipix, Chieftaine of the Selzuccian Family: With the Successe thereof”, in The Generall Historie of the Turkes, […], London: […] Adam Islip, OCLC 837543169, page 19:
- The citie was thus taken, many of the Turks fled into the caſtell, the reſt were put vnto the ſword, man, woman, and child; and amongſt them alſo many of the Chriſtians, the furious ſouldiers taking of them no knowledge. Great wealth was there found, but ſmall ſtore of victuals.
- (specifically, obsolete)
- Edible plants.
- 1625, Francis Bacon, “Of Plantations. XXXIII.”, in The Essayes […], London: […] Iohn Haviland […], published 1632, OCLC 863527675, pages 199–200:
- [C]onſider, what Victuall or Eſculent Things there are, which grow ſpeedily, and within the yeere, As Parſnips, Carrets, Turnips, Onions, Radiſh, Artichokes of Hieruſalem, Maiz, and the like. […] The Victuall in Plantations, ought to be expanded, almoſt as in a Beſieged Towne; That is, with certaine Allowance.
- (Scotland) Grain of any kind.
- 1785 September 13, Robert Burns; R[obert] H[artley] Cromek, compiler, “Epistles in Verse. To J. Lapraik.”, in Reliques of Robert Burns; Consisting Chiefly of Original Letters, Poems, and Critical Observations on Scottish Songs, London: […] J. M’Creery, for T[homas] Cadell, and W[illiam] Davies, […], published 1808, OCLC 3963942, page 391:
- But if the beast and branks be spar'd / Till kye be gaun without the herd, / An' a' the vittel in the yard, / An' theckit right, / I mean your ingle-side to guard / Ae winter night.
- Edible plants.
From Middle English vitailen (“to provide (someone, a castle, a ship, etc., or oneself) with supplies of food, drink, or other needs; (figuratively) to load (a ship with troops and materiel); to fortify, nourish”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman vitailer, vitailler, and Old French vitailler, victuailler [and other forms], from vitaile, vitaille, victaille (“food, provisions, victuals”) (see further at etymology 1) + -er (a variant of -ier (suffix forming infinitives of first conjugation verbs)).
- (transitive, reflexive, chiefly military, nautical) To provide (military troops, a place, a ship, etc., or oneself) with a stock of victuals or food; to provision.
- 1512, I. P. W., “Historical Sketches of British Commerce.—No. 3. A.D. 1400–1600.”, in The Sailor’s Magazine, volume 29, number 7, New York, N.Y.: The American Seamen’s Friend Society, […], published March 1857, OCLC 47807401, page 194, column 2:
- In 1512 an agreement was made between him [Henry VIII] and his admiral, Sir Edward Howard, which affords an interesting view of the manner in which fleets of war were then maintained. […] It was also stipulated that, "forasmuch as our Sovereign lord at his costs and charges victualeth the said army and navy, the said admiral shall therefore reserve for the king the one-half of all gains and winnings of the war, […]"
- c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene iv], page 207, column 2:
- [T]hy louing voyage / Is but for two moneths victuall’d: […]
- 1625 July, Walter Yonge, George Roberts, editor, The Diary of Walter Yonge, Esq. […], Written at Colyton and Axminster, Co. Devon, from 1604 to 1628, London: Printed for the Camden Society, by J[ohn] B[oyer] Nichols and Son, […], published 1848, OCLC 655306680, page 85:
- Spinola [Ambrogio Spinola, 1st Marquess of Los Balbases] continueth in his trenches before Breda, and victualeth and strengtheneth Breda, which being done, it is thought he will besiege Bergen op Zoom.
- 1681, Robert Knox; Edward Arber, compiler, “[Nineteen Years’ Captivity in the Kingdom of Conde Uda in the Highlands of Ceylon, […].] Concerning Some Other Nations, and Chiefly European that Now Live in the Island. The Portuguese and Dutch.”, in An English Garner: Ingatherings from Our History and Literature, volume I, London: […] E. Arber, […], published 15 November 1877, OCLC 1152800435, part II, stanza XXXIX, page 435:
- He victualleth his soldiers during the time they are upon the guard, either about the palace or abroad in the wars: whereas it is contrary in the King's country; for the Cingalese soldiers bear their own expenses.
- 1683, J. S., “[A Discourse of Trade. […].] That the People and Territories of the King of England are Naturaly as Considerable for Wealth and Strength as Those of France.”, in The Present State of England. Part III. and Part IV. […], London: […] [R. Holt] for William Whitwood, […], OCLC 1181358302, part IV, page 59:
- I could here ſet down the very number of Acres that would bear Bread and Drink, Corn, together with Fleſh, Butter, and Cheeſe, ſufficient to Victual nine Millions of Perſons, as they are Victualled in Ships and regular Families; but I ſhall only ſay in general that 12,000,00. will do it, […]
- 1776 March 9, Adam Smith, “Of the Rent of Land”, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. […], volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, […], OCLC 762139, book I (Of the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers of Labour, […]), I (Of the Produce of Land which Always Affords Rent), page 189:
- It was then, among other proof to the ſame purpoſe, given in evidence by a Virginia merchant, that in March, 1763, he had victualled his ſhips for twenty-four or twenty-five ſhillings the hundred weight of beef, which he conſidered as the ordinary price; […]
- 1838, William H[ickling] Prescott, “War of Granada.—Conquest of Baza.—Submission of El Zagal. 1487–1489.”, in History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. […], volume I, 3rd edition, New York, N.Y.: A[lbert] L[evi] Burt, OCLC 9068084, pages 308-309:
- These veterans were commissioned to defend the place to the last extremity; and, as due time had been given for preparation, the town was victualled for fifteen months' provisions, and even the crops growing in the vega had been garnered before their prime, to save them from the hands of the enemy.
Military definitionCharacteristic of members of the armed forces. (1 of 4 military definitions)
Troop definitionA collection of people; a number; a multitude (in general). (1 of 9 troop definitions)
- (intransitive, chiefly military, nautical) To lay in or procure food supplies.
- 1568 April 13, William Drury, “Containing Matters of State from the Earl of Moray’s Acceptation of the Regency in the Month of August 1567, till the Queen’s Retreat into England in the Month of May 1568”, in Robert Keith; John Parker Lawson, editor, History of the Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, from the Beginning of the Reformation to the Year 1568. […], volume II, Edinburgh: […] [Alexander Laurie and Co.] for the Spottiswoode Society, published 1845, OCLC 1015512744, page 792:
- [Letter from Sir William Drury to Sir William Cecil, 3d April 1568 (Julian calendar).] The Lord Fleming [i.e., John Fleming, 5th Lord Fleming], notwithstanding he still victualleth and maketh provision, he hath offered three personages of as great livehood as himself to enter caution and surety unto the [James Stewart, 1st] Earl of Moray, that he shall only hold the place at the devotion and service of the young King, and to no other.
- 1697, William Dampier, chapter IX, in A New Voyage Round the VVorld. […], London: […] James Knapton, […], OCLC 1179524264, page 260:
- For though we took a little Flower hard by, yet the ſame Guide which told us of that Ship would have conducted us where we might had ſtore of Beef and Maiz: but inſtead thereof we lost both our time and the opportunity of providing our ſelves, and ſo were forced to be victualling when we ſhould have been cruizing off Cape Corrientes in expectation of the Manila Ship.
- 1779 March, “America”, in The Scots Magazine; or, General Repository of Literature, History, and Politics, volume XLI (volume , New Series), Edinburgh: […] A. Murray and J. Cochran, OCLC 810532611, pages 143–145:
Lay In definitionTo put (something) aside for future use. (1 of 2 lay in definitions)
- (intransitive) To eat.
|present tense||past tense|
|2nd-person singular||victual, victualest1||victualed, victualedst1|
|3rd-person singular||victuals, victualeth1||victualed|
- ^ “vitaile, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- “victual, n.”, in OED Online
, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1917; “victual, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
- ^ “vitailen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “victual, v.”, in OED Online
, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1917; “victual, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.