any of several mostly climbing plants belonging to the genus Vicia, of the legume family, having pinnate leaves ending in tendrils and bearing pealike flowers, especially V. sativa (spring vetch) cultivated for forage and soil improvement.
any of various allied plants, as Lathyrus sativus, of Europe, cultivated for their edible seeds and for forage.
the beanlike seed or fruit of any such plant.

1325–75; Middle English ve(c)che < Anglo-French; Old French vecce (French vesce) < Latin vicia

vetchlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
vetch (vɛtʃ)
1.  any of various climbing leguminous plants of the temperate genus Vicia, esp V. sativa, having pinnate leaves, typically blue or purple flowers, and tendrils on the stems
2.  any of various similar and related plants, such as Lathyrus sativus, cultivated in parts of Europe, and the kidney vetch
3.  the beanlike fruit of any of these plants
[C14: fecche, from Old French veche, from Latin vicia]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.N.Fr. veche, variant of O.Fr. vece, from L. vicia, which perhaps is related to vincire "to bind" (cf. second element of periwinkle (1)). Du. wikke, Ger. Wicke are loan-words from L. vicia.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Park managers tend to target invasive weeds such as red vetch with herbicides
  because they can outcompete native plants.
Crown vetch is a perennial legume that reproduces by seeds and spreads
It is not a true vetch and does not have tendrils for climbing.
Lana vetch is planted in the fall and reseeds itself.
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