Word of the Day


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1. a large round vegetable with a thick orange skin and large seeds

Origin and usage

The word pumpkin is derived from the Greek word ‘pepon’ meaning ‘melon’. In English, the word is an alteration of the Middle French word ‘pompon’, which also means ‘melon’. Pumpkin came into the English language sometime during the 1640s.


Pumpkin most often refers to a bulky, round vegetable in the squash or gourd family that has a bright orange outer skin and large seeds. Pumpkins need a lot of space to grow and are usually planted in vast patches or plots of land without other crops nearby. Pumpkins grow on vines that trail in long rows along the ground.

In some parts of the world, pumpkins are mainly used as seasonal decorations. As they ripen and are ready to be picked in autumn, pumpkins have become a popular symbol for the harvest season. However, pumpkins are also an important food source, containing lots of important vitamins and nutrients.

Pumpkins contain high levels of potassium that can help reduce blood pressure. They also have antioxidants that help slow cell damage. Like carrots, pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene that has a number of health benefits. Pumpkins are also a good source of fibre, as well as vitamins C and E.

Cooked and puréed pumpkin can be added to a number of recipes to help boost nutritional content. Pumpkin purée can even be used as a substitute for oil or butter in many baking recipes.


“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
(Henry David Thoreau)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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