"food," 1678, from L. pabulum
"fodder, food," from PIE base *pa-
"to protect, feed" (see food
) + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom. Pablum
(1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for weak and invalid people, hence fig. use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in ref. to "mushy" political prose.