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[kar-uh t] /ˈkær ət/
a plant, Daucus carota, of the parsley family, having pinnately decompound leaves and umbels of small white or yellow flowers, in its wild form a widespread, familiar weed, and in cultivation valued for its edible root.
the nutritious, orange to yellow root of this plant, eaten raw or cooked.
something hoped for or promised as a lure or incentive:
To boost productivity, leaders hinted at the carrot of subsidized housing for the workers.
Compare stick1 (def 8).
verb (used with object)
to treat (furs) with mercuric nitrate preparatory to felting.
1525-35; < Middle French carotte < Late Latin carōta < Greek karōtón, derivative of kárē head, with suffix as in kephalōtón onion, derivative of kephalḗ head
Can be confused
carat, caret, carrot, karat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carrots
  • carrots require a longer time for cooking than cabbage or turnips.
  • Take some hamburger meat and grill it up with peas and carrots.
  • One day, each panda got apples and carrots-floating in tubs of water.
  • Pictures of green beans and carrots on cafeteria trays resulted in more kids eating more veggies.
  • But it turns out that the carrots you offered weren't big enough.
  • But packaged carrots and celery, both organic, were flavorless.
  • Waiters brought out hot mulled wine for the riders and long-stemmed carrots for the horses.
  • She nibbles on carrots and celery throughout the day.
  • Economists have always been advocates of using carrots and sticks.
  • To be sure, the carrots of more attractive legal services are being accompanied by innovative forms of stick.
British Dictionary definitions for carrots


an umbelliferous plant, Daucus carota sativa, with finely divided leaves and flat clusters of small white flowers See also wild carrot
the long tapering orange root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable
  1. something offered as a lure or incentive
  2. carrot and stick, reward and punishment as methods of persuasion
Word Origin
C16: from Old French carotte, from Late Latin carōta, from Greek karōton; perhaps related to Greek karē head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carrots



1530s, from Middle French carrotte, from Latin carota, from Greek karoton "carrot," probably from PIE *kre-, from root *ker- "horn, head" (see horn (n.)); so called for its horn-like shape.

Originally white-rooted and a medicinal plant to the ancients, who used it as an aphrodisiac and to prevent poisoning. Not entirely distinguished from parsnips in ancient times. Reintroduced in Europe by Arabs c.1100. The orange carrot, which existed perhaps as early as 6c., probably began as a mutation of the Asian purple carrot and was cultivated into the modern edible plant 16c.-17c. in the Netherlands. Thus the word is used as a color name but not before 1670s in English, originally of red hair.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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