- See under mushroom(def 2).
- any of various fleshy fungi including the toadstools, puffballs, coral fungi, morels, etc.
- any of several edible species, especially of the family Agaricaceae, as Agaricus campestris (meadow mushroom or field mushroom), cultivated for food in the U.S.
- anything of similar shape or correspondingly rapid growth.
- a large, mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke or rubble, formed in the atmosphere as a result of an explosion, especially a nuclear explosion.
- of, consisting of, or containing mushrooms: a mushroom omelet.
- resembling a mushroom in shape or form.
- of rapid growth and often brief duration: mushroom towns of the gold-rush days.
verb (used without object)
- to spread, grow, or develop quickly.
- to gather mushrooms.
- to have or assume the shape of a mushroom.
- the fungus producing any of these structures
- something resembling a mushroom in shape or rapid growth
- (as modifier)mushroom expansion
- to grow rapidlydemand mushroomed overnight
- to assume a mushroom-like shape
- to gather mushrooms
mid-15c., muscheron, musseroun (attested 1327 as a surname, John Mussheron), from Anglo-French musherun, Old French meisseron (11c., Modern French mousseron), perhaps from Late Latin mussirionem (nominative mussirio), though this might as well be borrowed from French. Barnhart says “of uncertain origin.” Klein calls it “a word of pre-Latin origin, used in the North of France;” OED says it usually is held to be a derivative of French mousse “moss” (from Germanic), and Weekley agrees, saying it is properly “applied to variety which grows in moss,” but Klein says they have “nothing in common.” For the final -m Weekley refers to grogram, vellum, venom. Modern spelling is from 1560s.
Used figuratively for something or someone that makes a sudden appearance in full form from 1590s. In reference to the shape of clouds after explosions, etc., it is attested from 1916, though the actual phrase mushroom cloud does not appear until 1955.
“expand or increase rapidly,” 1741, from mushroom (n.). Related: Mushroomed; mushrooming.
- Any of various fungi that produce a fleshy fruiting body, which usually consists of a stalk topped by an umbrella-shaped cap. Many mushrooms are basidiomycetes. Some species of mushrooms are edible, though many are poisonous. The term mushroom is often applied to the stalk and cap alone. See more at basidiomycete.