1. a plant, Foeniculum vulgare, of the parsley family, having feathery leaves and umbels of small, yellow flowers.
  2. Also fennel seed. the aromatic fruits of this plant, used in cookery and medicine.
  3. any of various more or less similar plants, as Ferula communis (giant fennel), a tall, ornamental plant.


  1. a strong-smelling yellow-flowered umbelliferous plant, Foeniculum vulgare, whose seeds and feathery leaves are used to season and flavour foodSee also finocchio
  2. another name for mayweed

Old English fenol, finul, perhaps via (or influenced by) Old French fenoil or directly from Vulgar Latin fenuculum, from Latin feniculum, diminutive of fenum, faenum “hay,” probably literally “produce” (see fecund). Apparently so called from its hay-like appearance and sweet odor.

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