v. sprout·ed, sprout·ing, sprouts
1. To begin to grow; give off shoots or buds.
2. To emerge and develop rapidly: businesses that sprouted along the highway.
To allow or cause to come forth and grow: He sprouted a mustache.
1. Young plant growth, such as a bud or shoot.
2. Something resembling or suggestive of a sprout, as in rapid growth: "a tall blond sprout of a boy" (Anne Tyler).
a. The young shoots of plants such as alfalfa and soybean, usually eaten raw.
b. Brussels sprouts.
[Middle English spruten, from Old English -sprūtan (in āsprūtan, to sprout forth); see sper- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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.