from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A shoot sprouting from a plant base, as in the banana, pineapple, or sugar cane.
  • intransitive verb To produce or grow as a ratoon.
  • intransitive verb To propagate (a crop) from ratoons.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To sprout or send up new shoots from the root after being cropped or cut down: said of the sugar-cane and some other plants.
  • noun A sprout or shoot springing up from the root of a plant after it has been cropped; especially, a new shoot from the root of a sugar-cane that has been cut down. Compare plant-cane.
  • noun The heart-leaves in a tobacco-plant.
  • To induce the growth of young shoots by cutting back (old plants); raise another crop from (the old stools): as, to ratoon sugar-cane.
  • In the West Indies, to continue the growth of (plants) after the close of the dry season and after seed has been sown for the new crop: as, to ratoon cotton.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Same as rattoon, n.
  • noun obsolete A rattan cane.
  • intransitive verb Same as rattoon, v. i.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A shoot sprouting from the root of a cropped plant, especially sugar cane.
  • verb intransitive, of a plant To sprout ratoons.
  • verb transitive To cut a plant, especially sugar cane, so that it will produce ratoons.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Spanish retoño, sprout, from retoñar, to sprout : re-, again (from Latin; see re–) + otoñar, to grow in autumn (from otoño, autumn, from Latin autumnus; see autumn).]



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  • I think we can crank up the figurative use of this.

    "My new list ratooned from words I jotted down while waiting for the bus."

    July 21, 2008

  • I like it. Let's hope its figurative usage ratoons.

    July 28, 2008

  • I prefered picking pineapples from first or second ratoon plants when I worked in Hawaii in 1975.

    September 30, 2011

  • Those who forage for lexical loot

    Examine the stem and the root.

    An old word that's hewn

    May spread by ratoon

    And sprout many a succulent shoot.

    August 25, 2014

  • Very nicely phrased, qms.

    August 25, 2014

  • Thank you, hernesheir. I am encouraged.

    August 25, 2014