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The Collaborative International Dictionary

pabulum \pab"u*lum\, n. [L., akin to pascere to pasture. See Pastor.]

  1. The means of nutriment to animals or plants; food; nourishment. [WordNet sense 1]

    Syn: comestible, edible, eatable, victual, victuals.

  2. Hence: That which feeds or sustains, such as fuel for a fire; especially, that upon which the mind or soul is nourished; intellectual sustenance; as, intellectual pabulum. [WordNet sense 2]

    Syn: food for thought, intellectual nourishment.

  3. Trite or simplistic writing, sentiments, etc.; pablum[3].

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"food" for anything, 1670s, from Latin pabulum "fodder, food, nourishment," from PIE root *pa- "to protect, feed" (see food) + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom.\n

\nPablum (1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for infants and weak and invalid people, hence figurative use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in reference to "mushy" political prose.


n. 1 food or fodder, particularly that taken in by plants or animals. 2 Material that feeds a fire. 3 (lb en figuratively) Food for thought. 4 Bland intellectual fare; an undemanding diet of words.

  1. n. any substance that can be used as food [syn: comestible, edible, eatable, victual, victuals]

  2. insipid intellectual nourishment

  • pabulum: word; denoting "food, bland entertainment"
  • Pablum: product; infant food from Mead Johnson; product name derived from pabulum above

Usage examples of "pabulum".

Even common water, that apparently innoxious pabulum, when corrupted by the filth of populous cities, is a deadly and insidious destroyer.

He was followed by a dietician who was force-fed boiling pabulum until he choked to death, a cook who was microwaved, a carpenter-handyman who was sawed in half, a manicurist who was fatally trimmed, a houri who was impaled.

In addition to pabulums and breakfast cereals, Crespo Mills manufactured whipped condiment spreads, peanut butter, granola bars, cookies, crackers, trail mix, flavored popcorn, bread sticks and three styles of croutons.