1 [plan-tin, -tn]
a tropical plant, Musa paradisiaca, of the banana family, resembling the banana.
its fruit, eaten cooked as a staple food in tropical regions.

1545–55; earlier pla(n)tan < Spanish plá(n)tano plantain, also plane tree < Medieval Latin pla(n)tanus, Latin platanus plane3 Unabridged


2 [plan-tin, -tn]
any plant of the genus Plantago, especially P. major, a weed with large, spreading leaves close to the ground and long, slender spikes of small flowers.

1350–1400; Middle English plauntein < Old French plantein < Latin plantāgin- (stem of plantāgō), derivative of planta sole of the foot, literally, something flat and spread out, like the broad leaf of the plantain; akin to Greek platýs flat1; see platy- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Plantain
World English Dictionary
plantain1 (ˈplæntɪn)
See also ribwort any of various N temperate plants of the genus Plantago, esp P. major (great plantain), which has a rosette of broad leaves and a slender spike of small greenish flowers: family Plantaginaceae
[C14 plauntein, from Old French plantein, from Latin plantāgō, from planta sole of the foot]

plantain2 (ˈplæntɪn)
1.  a large tropical musaceous plant, Musa paradisiaca
2.  the green-skinned banana-like fruit of this plant, eaten as a staple food in many tropical regions
[C16: from Spanish platano plantain, plane tree]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"banana," 1555, from Sp. plátano, plántano, probably from Carib platana "banana" (Arawak pratane), and altered by assoc. with Sp. plátano "plane tree," from M.L. plantanus "plane tree," itself altered (by association with L. planta "plant") from L. platanus (see
plane (4)). So called from the shape of its leaves. There is no similarity or relation between this plant and plantain (2).

"weed of the genus Plantago," c.1265, from Anglo-Fr. plaunteyne, O.Fr. plantain, from L. plantaginem (nom. plantago), the common weed, from planta "sole of the foot" (see plant (n.)); so called from its flat leaves.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Before you begin peeling a plantain, bring it to room temperature.
The eggs are laid at the base of plantain, owl's clover or paintbrush.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature