1. A biennial Eurasian plant (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) in the parsley family, widely cultivated as an annual for its edible taproot.
2. The usually tapering, elongate, fleshy orange root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable.
3. Queen Anne's lace.
4. A reward offered for desired behavior; an inducement: "The U.S. should use a moratorium on SDI development as a carrot to bring an acceptable offensive arms limitation" (C. Peter Gall).
[French carotte, from Old French garroite, from Latin carōta, from Greek karōton; see ker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.