Herbs and herbal´, vegetable

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Hutschi

Senior Member
Hi,
we had a discussion about a proper translation in the German forum.

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=603743

It is about the meaning of herbs and herbal, and about vegetable as adjective and vegetable as noun.

Does "herbal" only refer to "herbs" or to "vegetable, too?

What is the meaning of "vegetable" if used as adjective?

This is refered to the same question, the relation between the four words, so I hope it is appropriate to have only one topic for it.

Best regards
Bernd
 
  • stezza

    Banned
    english
    Herbal, to my mind, does not refer to vegetables. It refers only to plants which are used medicinally or as aromtics in the kitchen - parsley, tarragon, basil, sage etc.

    Herbs are, however, vegetable (adj) matter in that they grow in the ground and are not animal or mineral.
     

    Suehil

    Medemod
    British English
    'Herbal' only refers to 'herbs' (e.g. 'herbal remedy'). 'Vegetable' as an adjective means 'plant' (as opposed to 'animal' or 'mineral')
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hi,
    we had a discussion about a proper translation in the German forum.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=603743

    It is about the meaning of herbs and herbal, and about vegetable as adjective and vegetable as noun.

    Does "herbal" only refer to "herbs" or to "vegetable, too?

    What is the meaning of "vegetable" if used as adjective?

    This is refered to the same question, the relation between the four words, so I hope it is appropriate to have only one topic for it.

    Best regards
    Bernd
    When I think about "herbal", I think about "herbal tea", they are usually things like "rose tea" "lavender tea", more like flowers and some plants, but not vegetables (Imagine spinach tea :eek: :D). You have "herbal medicine" too, and I believe they are mostly flowers and plants.

    "Vegetable" as an adjective? How about "We have a vegetable crisis/shortage?" I think it's rarely used, as least not as common as "herbal".

    "Herbs" as a noun is a common word though. "I have some herbs here that may help you with your problems".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Good question :)

    An immediate response is that in common conversation herbs and vegetables are plants that we eat.
    We eat vegetables.
    Herbs are used in smallish quantities to add flavour.

    Then it gets more complicated.
    Herbs are vegetable, they are classified as vegetable as opposed to animal, mineral or abstract. Vegetarians eat herbs.
    Vegetables can be damaged or destroyed by herbicides. Herbivores eat vegetables.

    A herbal infusion, or herbal tea, is generally made with plants that we would normally call herbs. But not exclusively. For example, under the general label of herbal tea in my nearby health-food shop you will find nettle, raspberry and rosehip, none of which I would class as herbs.

    I don't think you will find clear and absolute definitions of these words, but perhaps the discussion will help clarify how they are used.
     
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