Bamboo is a woody plant with a hollow stem that's in the grass family. When bamboo is harvested and processed, it can be used to make things like flooring, paper, and chopsticks.

If bamboo is prepared correctly, it can be eaten — you'll find bamboo shoots in many Chinese dishes, for example. Without the right preparation, though, bamboo is toxic to humans. Many products are made from bamboo in part because it's one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Bamboo is originally from the Dutch bamboe, which in turn comes from the Portuguese bambu. The root is thought to be the Malay word samambu.

Definitions of bamboo
  1. noun
    woody tropical grass having hollow woody stems; mature canes used for construction and furniture
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    Bambusa vulgaris, common bamboo
    extremely vigorous bamboo having thin-walled culms striped green and yellow; so widely cultivated that native area is uncertain
    Arundinaria gigantea, cane reed, giant cane
    tall grass of southern United States growing in thickets
    Arundinaria tecta, small cane, switch cane
    small cane of watery or moist areas in southern United States
    Dendrocalamus giganteus, giant bamboo, kyo-chiku
    immense tropical southeast Asian bamboo with tough hollow culms that resemble tree trunks
    Phyllostachys aurea, fishpole bamboo, gosan-chiku, hotei-chiku
    small bamboo of southeastern China having slender culms flexuous when young
    Phyllostachys nigra, black bamboo, kuri-chiku
    small bamboo having thin green culms turning shining black
    Phyllostachys bambusoides, giant timber bamboo, ku-chiku, madake
    large bamboo having thick-walled culms; native of China and perhaps Japan; widely grown elsewhere
    type of:
    graminaceous plant, gramineous plant
    cosmopolitan herbaceous or woody plants with hollow jointed stems and long narrow leaves
  2. noun
    the hard woody stems of bamboo plants; used in construction and crafts and fishing poles
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    type of:
    the hard fibrous lignified substance under the bark of trees
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