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 ©2019 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.