Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Word of the day: zucchini

[Shrouded in mystery.]

This file-folder label recently appeared in the breezeway between our house and garage. The label is almost certainly ours. It probably found its freedom during a recent garage-decluttering spree.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces zucchini to the Italian: “plural of zucchino (small) marrow, diminutive of zucca gourd.” The Dictionary calls zucchini “The usual word for the vegetable in N. America and Australia.” In British English, the vegetable is the courgette , from the French: “diminutive of courge gourd.”

As for marrow:

(Chiefly Brit .) any of various kinds of squash or gourd which are chiefly the fruits of varieties of Cucurbita pepo , eaten as a vegetable; esp . one of the larger round or cylindrical kinds with green, white, or striped skins and greenish-white or (occas.) yellowish pulpy flesh; (also) the plant producing these, a trailing or sometimes bushlike annual with deep yellow flowers.
So that explains the curious term vegetable marrow . The Dictionary says of this use of marrow that “It is unclear . . . whether the primary sense is ‘pith, inner pulp’ . . . or ‘richness (as of bone marrow).’”

What did the label label? I have no idea, but I am hoping that one of the younger members of the fambly might remember what this zucchini is all about. Note the backward z .

comments: 2

Rachel said...

I'm almost certain it's from the garden, and I'm also sure it's Ben's writing. I don't recall ever writing quite like that.

Michael Leddy said...

Ben says it’s his writing, and he thinks it could be from a shopping list. I don’t think we ever used labels for that. Mom thinks it might be from a folder that held seed packets.