verb (used without object), veg·e·tat·ed, veg·e·tat·ing.
- to grow in, or as in, the manner of a plant.
- to be passive or unthinking; to do nothing: to lie on the beach and vegetate.
- Pathology. to grow, or increase by growth, as an excrescence.
- to grow like a plant; sprout
- to lead a life characterized by monotony, passivity, or mental inactivity
- pathol (of a wart, polyp, etc) to develop fleshy outgrowths
c.1600, “to grow as plants do,” perhaps a back-formation from vegetation, or from Latin vegetatus, past participle of vegetare “to enliven, to animate” (see vegetable (adj.)). Sense of “to lead a dull, empty, or stagnant life” is from 1740. Related: Vegetated; vegetating.