QUOTE(Serendipity @ Jun 29 2008, 12:19 AM)
I think of it as a fruit, but it's not like you're going to take a whole tomato to school to eat as a snack. =p
I eat tomatoes as snacks. The littler ones, not the big ones. Roma tomatoes are excellent to just eat 'cos their flavor is a little more robust.
So, definitions of each term, according to the Oxford English Dictionary:
Tomato - The glossy fleshy fruit
of a solanaceous plant (Solanum Lycopersicum or Lycopersicum esculentum), a native of tropical America, now cultivated as a garden vegetable
in temperate as well as tropical lands.
Fruit - The edible product of a plant or tree, consisting of the seed and its envelope, esp. the latter when it is of a juicy pulpy nature, as in the apple, orange, plum, etc.
Vegetable - A plant cultivated for food
; esp. an edible herb or root used for human consumption and commonly eaten, either cooked or raw, with meat or other article of food.
Also, according to the Columbia Encyclopedia
There is no clear botanical distinction between vegetables and fruits. Most vegetables consist largely of water, making them low in calories. They are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron.
Therefore, the difference between a fruit and a vegetable seems to be the latter's link to commodification (see the italicized part in the definition of vegetable