asparagus(redirected from Asparagus plant)
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1. The tender young shoots of the plant Asparagus officinalis, eaten as a vegetable.
2. Any of various perennial plants of the genus Asparagus of Eurasia and Africa, having leaflike stems, scalelike leaves, and small flowers.
[Late Middle English sperage, sparage, from Medieval Latin sparagus, from Latin asparagus, from Greek aspharagos, asparagos.]
Word History: After the rebirth of classical learning during the Renaissance, Greek and Latin achieved a lofty status among the educated. As a result, etymologists and spelling reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries tried to give English a classical look by Latinizing or Hellenizing the spelling of words that had Latin or Greek ancestry (and even some that didn't). For example, Medieval Latin had a word sparagus, from Classical Latin asparagus, that was borrowed into Middle English and rendered as sparage or, more commonly, sperage. Botanists were familiar with the proper Latin version asparagus, and their use of that term together with the efforts of the etymologists caused the Latin form to become more widespread, eventually supplanting sperage. In the 1600s, however, asparagus was shortened in popular speech to 'sparagus, and reanalyzed—this time by amateur etymologists—as sparagrass or sparrowgrass. These variants gained wide acceptance during the 18th century, largely relegating asparagus to the field of botany. Asparagus eventually found its way back into common use during the 19th century. Thus, it is difficult to say whether the Modern English word asparagus is a direct descendant of Middle English sperage or a borrowing directly from Latin—a difficulty one encounters with hundreds of other words whose spellings and even pronunciations were Latinized during this time.
1. (Plants) any Eurasian liliaceous plant of the genus Asparagus, esp the widely cultivated A. officinalis, having small scaly or needle-like leaves
2. (Plants) the succulent young shoots of A. officinalis, which may be cooked and eaten
3. (Plants) asparagus fern a fernlike species of asparagus, A. plumosus, native to southern Africa
[C15: from Latin, from Greek asparagos, of obscure origin]
as•par•a•gus(əˈspær ə gəs)
1. any plant of the genus Asparagus, of the lily family, esp. A. officinalis, cultivated for its edible shoots.
2. the shoots, eaten as a vegetable.
[1540–50; < Latin < Greek asp(h)áragos]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||asparagus - plant whose succulent young shoots are cooked and eaten as a vegetable|
asparagus - edible young shoots of the asparagus plant
herb, herbaceous plant - a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
genus Asparagus - large genus of Old World perennial herbs with erect or spreading or climbing stems and small scalelike leaves and inconspicuous flowers; sometimes placed in family Asparagaceae
|2.||asparagus - edible young shoots of the asparagus plant|
veg, vegetable, veggie - edible seeds or roots or stems or leaves or bulbs or tubers or nonsweet fruits of any of numerous herbaceous plant
n no pl → Spargel m