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[tuh-mey-toh, -mah-] /təˈmeɪ toʊ, -ˈmɑ-/
noun, plural tomatoes.
any of several plants belonging to the genus Lycopersicon, of the nightshade family, native to Mexico and Central and South America, especially the widely cultivated species L. lycopersicum, bearing a mildly acid, pulpy, usually red fruit eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable.
the fruit itself.
Older Slang: Sometimes Offensive. a girl or woman.
1595-1605; 1915-20 for def 3; earlier tomate < Spanish < Nahuatl tomatl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tomato
  • Add the greens, herbs and diluted tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.
  • tomato ketchup, fortuitously, turns out to be one of the main sources of this virtuous ingredient.
  • Well-suited to the home garden, tomato plants tuck into small spaces, growing vertically on trellises.
  • Two mutations turned a tiny, wild fruit into the modern large, luscious tomato.
  • But with tomato season in full swing, the tomato variety might fit the bill for this season.
  • In that case, the virus can be mechanically transmitted to the tomato plants via my weeding.
  • Vigneron inflates thin sheets of cheese into delicate spheres that will be injected with tomato foam.
  • Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more.
  • The tomato itself has slid down, where it sits on the walkway.
  • Understanding, and then altering, the genes of a big pine tree is more complex than creating a better tomato.
British Dictionary definitions for tomato


noun (pl) -toes
a solanaceous plant, Lycopersicon (or Lycopersicum) esculentum, of South America, widely cultivated for its red fleshy many-seeded edible fruits
the fruit of this plant, which has slightly acid-tasting flesh and is eaten in salads, as a vegetable, etc
(US & Canadian, slang) a girl or woman
Word Origin
C17 tomate, from Spanish, from Nahuatl tomatl
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 tomato

1753, earlier tomate (c.1600), from Spanish tomate (mid-16c.) from Nahuatl tomatl "a tomato," literally "the swelling fruit," from tomana "to swell." Spelling probably influenced by potato (1565).

A member of the nightshade family, all of which contain poisonous alkaloids. Introduced in Europe from the New World, by 1550 they regularly were consumed in Italy but grown only as ornamental plants in England and not eaten there or in the U.S. at first. An encyclopedia of 1753 describes it as "a fruit eaten either stewed or raw by the Spaniards and Italians and by the Jew families of England." Introduced in U.S. as part of a program by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson (1789), but not commonly eaten until after c.1830.

Alternative name love apple and alleged aphrodisiac qualities have not been satisfactorily explained; perhaps from Italian name pomodoro, taken as from adorare "to adore," but probably actually from d'or "of gold" (in reference to color) or de Moro "of the Moors." Slang meaning "an attractive girl" is recorded from 1929, on notion of juicy plumpness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tomato



An attractive young woman; babe, chick: Iwas telling you about this kraut and the English tomato

[1922+; fr the connotations of lusciousness, tautness, full color, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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