a cereal grass, Avena sativa, cultivated for its edible seed.
Usually, oats. (used with a singular or plural verb) the seed of this plant, used as a food for humans and animals.
any of several plants of the same genus, as the .
Archaic. a musical pipe made of an oat straw.
feel one’s oats, Informal.
sow one’s wild oats. (def 3).
an erect annual grass, Avena sativa, grown in temperate regions for its edible seed
(usually pl) the seeds or fruits of this grass
any of various other grasses of the genus Avena, such as the wild oat
(poetic) a flute made from an oat straw
(US & Canadian, informal) feel one’s oats
(slang) get one’s oats, to have sexual intercourse
sow one’s oats, sow one’s wild oats, to indulge in adventure or promiscuity during youth
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.”
The usual Germanic name is derived from Proto-Germanic *khabran (cf. 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]
Fred Sanford: I still want to sow some wild oats!
Lamont Sanford: At your age, you don’t have no wild oats, you got shredded wheat.
[“Sanford and Son”]
Hence, to feel (one’s) oats “be lively,” 1831, originally American English.
Related Terms hay burner
[oht-keyk] /ˈoʊtˌkeɪk/ noun 1. a , usually thin and brittle, made of oatmeal. /ˈəʊtˌkeɪk/ noun 1. a brittle unleavened oatmeal biscuit
- Oat cell
oat cell n. A short, bluntly spindle-shaped, anaplastic cell containing a relatively large, hyperchromatic nucleus and observed in some carcinomas.
- Oat cell carcinoma
oat cell carcinoma n. A highly malignant carcinoma, especially of the lungs, composed of small ovoid undifferentiated cells. Also called small cell carcinoma.