asparagus

[15] Asparagus comes ultimately from Greek aspáragos (a word related to the Greek verb spargan ‘swell’, to the Latin verb spargere ‘scatter’ – ultimate source of English sparse, disperse, and aspersions – and also to English spark), and has over the past 150 years or so returned to the full Latin form, asparagus, in which it was originally borrowed by English. In the intervening centuries, however, it went through several metamorphoses: in the 16th century, the truncated medieval Latin variant sparagus was current (it also occurs in one isolated example from a book of Anglo-Saxon remedies of around 1000 AD); from then until the 18th century an anglicized version, sperage, was used; and in the 17th century folk etymology (the process by which an unfamiliar word is assimilated to one more familiar) turned asparagus into sparrowgrass. This gradually died out during the 19th century, but the abbreviation grass remains current in the jargon of the grocery trade. => ASPERSION, SPARK

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Asparagus — Asparagus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • asparagus — [ asparagys ] n. m. • 1797; mot lat. « asperge » ♦ Plante ornementale (liliacées) voisine de l asperge, au feuillage très fin et décoratif. Bouquet d œillets et d asparagus. ● asparagus nom masculin (motlatin) Nom générique de l asperge.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • asparagus — ASPARÁGUS, asparaguşi, s.m. Plantă ornamentală din familia liliaceelor, cultivată pentru frunzuliţele ei foarte fine şi decorative (Asparagus silvestris). – Din fr. asparagus. Trimis de cata, 11.02.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  asparágus s. m., pl.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Asparagus — As*par a*gus ([a^]s*p[a^]r [.a]*g[u^]s), n. [L., fr. Gr. aspa ragos, asfa ragos; cf. sparga^n to swell with sap or juice, and Zend [,c]paregha prong, sprout, Pers. asparag, Lith. spurgas sprout, Skr. sphurj to swell. Perh. the Greek borrowed from …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • asparagus — late O.E. sparage, from L. asparagus (in M.L. often sparagus), from Gk. asparagos, of uncertain origin; probably from PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g to spring up (though perhaps from a non Greek source). In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded …   Etymology dictionary

  • asparagus — [ə spar′ə gəs, əsper′əgəs] n. [ModL < L < Gr asparagos < IE base * sp(h)er(e)g , to spring up, sprout > SPRING, SPARK1] 1. any of a genus (Asparagus) of plants of the lily family, with small, scalelike leaves, many flat or needlelike… …   English World dictionary

  • asparagus — asparágus (asparȃgus) m DEFINICIJA bot., v. šparoga ETIMOLOGIJA grč. aspáragos …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Asparăgus — (A. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Liliaceen (Liliaceae Asphodeleae Asparageae), 6. Klasse 1. Ordnung L. mit einfacher, sechsblätteriger, unterständiger, einfacher Blüthenhülle, die an der Basis in ein mit dem Blüthenstiele gegliedertes …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Asparăgus — L. (Spargel), Gattung der Liliazeen, Kräuter oder Halbsträucher mit unterirdischer Grundachse, von der die oberirdischen, mehr oder weniger verzweigten, bisweilen kletternden Stämmchen ausgehen, kleinen, schuppigen oder dornigen Blättern, in… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Asparagus — Asparăgus, s. Spargel …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Asparagus — Asparagus, s. Spargel …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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