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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
oat cake
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Oat \Oat\ ([=o]t), n.; pl. Oats ([=o]ts). [OE. ote, ate, AS.

  1. (Bot.) A well-known cereal grass ( Avena sativa), and its edible grain, used as food and fodder; -- commonly used in the plural and in a collective sense.

  2. A musical pipe made of oat straw. [Obs.] --Milton. Animated oats or Animal oats (Bot.), A grass ( Avena sterilis) much like oats, but with a long spirally twisted awn which coils and uncoils with changes of moisture, and thus gives the grains an apparently automatic motion. Oat fowl (Zo["o]l.), the snow bunting; -- so called from its feeding on oats. [Prov. Eng.] Oat grass (Bot.), the name of several grasses more or less resembling oats, as Danthonia spicata, Danthonia sericea, and Arrhenatherum avenaceum, all common in parts of the United States. To feel one's oats,

    1. to be conceited or self-important. [Slang]

    2. to feel lively and energetic.

      To sow one's wild oats, to indulge in youthful dissipation.

      Wild oats (Bot.), a grass ( Avena fatua) much resembling oats, and by some persons supposed to be the original of cultivated oats.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English ate (plural atan) "grain of the oat plant, wild oats," of uncertain origin, possibly from Old Norse eitill "nodule," denoting a single grain, of unknown origin. The English word has cognates in Frisian and some Dutch dialects. Famously defined by Johnson as, "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."\n

\nThe usual Germanic name is derived from Proto-Germanic *khabran (cognates: Old Norse hafri, Dutch haver, source of haversack). Wild oats, "crop that one will regret sowing," is first attested 1560s, in reference to the folly of sowing these instead of good grain.That wilfull and vnruly age, which lacketh rypenes and discretion, and (as wee saye) hath not sowed all theyr wyeld Oates. [Thomas Newton, "Lemnie's Touchstone of complexions," 1576]\n

\nFred Sanford: I still want to sow some wild oats!\n
Lamont Sanford: At your age, you don't have no wild oats, you got shredded wheat.\n

["Sanford and Son"]

Hence, to feel (one's) oats "be lively," 1831, originally American English.

n. 1 (context uncountable English) Widely cultivated cereal grass, typically ''Avena sativa''. 2 (context countable English) Any of the numerous species, varieties, or cultivars of any of several similar grain plants in genus ''Avena''. 3 (context usually as plural English) The seeds of the oat, harvested as a food crop.

  1. n. annual grass of Europe and North Africa; grains used as food and fodder (referred to primarily in the plural: `oats')

  2. seed of the annual grass Avena sativa (spoken of primarily in the plural as `oats')


The oat (Avena sativa), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name (usually in the plural, unlike other cereals and pseudocereals). While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed.

Oat (disambiguation)

Oat (plural: oats) is a cereal grain crop.

Oat or Oats may also refer to:

  • OATS, Open Source Assistive Technology Software, a source code repository
  • Ohio Achievement Test (before 2010, the Ohio Achievement Assessment was known as the Ohio Achievement Test)
  • Optometry Admission Test, the widely used test for admission to a school of optometry
  • Organic anion transporter, an organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP)
  • Oxford Aviation Training at the Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA)
  • Overseas Adventure Travel, an arranger of group travels for people in the USA to visit other countries
  • Organic acid technology in antifreeze (see antifreeze#Organic acid technology)
  • Obligation assimilable du Trésor (French treasury bond)
  • Oral anticoagulant therapy, treatment with orally administered anticoagulants
  • Oral antibiotic therapy, treatment with orally administered antibiotics
  • Oral appliance therapy, treatment with an oral appliance
  • Ornithine aminotransferase, the enzyme that enables conversion of ornithine to proline
  • Occluded Artery Trial, a particular clinical trial (
  • Operational acceptance testing, testing that shows that a product or service is ready to accept for operation
  • Operational air traffic, in air traffic control
  • Outside air temperature, the air temperature outside a vehicle or building (usually in reference to an aircraft)

Usage examples of "oat".

Lynn Flewelling Seregil must have been generous, Alec thought as she piled his trencher with plump sausages and oat porridge, then fetched a pitcher of milk and some hot ash cakes to go with it.

Katie Oats and Richard Ancho were praised as role models of the Paranormal Investigation Division.

Some day I should like to paint a bouquet of wildflowers, the kind she liked: gypsy rose and yarrow, and little pink bindweed, with a few blades of fine grass and a green oat stalk.

We had heavy furs to keep us safe from the cold, and a thick woven rug to throw over Bor, as well as a sack of oats to feed him with, and dried meat and bread and beer for us.

We ate our midday meal on the move, with Bor taking his oats from a nosebag, stopping only to drink when we found a little stream that ran too fast to freeze.

A good enough solution to have diversified into five hundred genera, five thousand species: corn, wheat, rice, bamboo, sorghum, reed, oats, timothy, fescue, Kentucky blue.

Set on stones were elven winter rations and fresh game: oat cakes with salt and maple syrup, dried herring, hunks of deer and bear and bison, even barrels of ale and a trough of spring water.

Monsieur Linders had, in fact, sown his wild oats, so to speak, and settled down to the business of his life.

Beyond the flags the red oated soldiers were doing mu ket drill, but loup did not watch them long, instead he inched the telescope southwards until, at last, he saw two men in green coats strolling along the deserted ramparts.

He that his hand will put in this mittain, He shall have multiplying of his grain, When he hath sowen, be it wheat or oats, So that he offer pence, or elles groats.

There was a scupping sound as he attacked his oat porridge -- a heaping quart of which, lubricated with a lump of oleomargarine the size of a cricket ball, constituted his time-honored breakfast.

A typical 1945 monthly family ration consisted of fourteen pounds of flour, a pound of tea, three pounds of sugar, three pounds of rolled oats, two pounds of rice, six packages of Pablum and a gallon of coal oil.

Outside, Shadd was stirring oats into a kettle, while Ser Wendel Manderly sat stringing his bow.

When sown on spring crops, as spring wheat, barley and oats, the seed cannot, of course, be sown until these crops are sown.

Feeling his oats and aware that the girls thought him swoonable, Clodius looked around for a feminine conquest who fitted in with his ideas of his own specialness, which were growing by leaps and bounds.