[69] This study pinpointed a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a cluster of olfactory genes associated with the ability to detect the odor. [43][44] An old etymology tried to associate wormwood with warmth, on account of the warmth this plant produces in the stomach. Wormwood is widely used in medicine. The German equivalent to elfshot (for lumbago) is Hexenschuss. In recent years,[when?] mandrake: Originally, in Greek, mandragoras, the term for a plant whose root has narcotic qualities passed into English through Latin. If you have very thin young spears, you may not have to snap them at all. [citation needed], The onset of the asparagus urine smell is remarkably rapid while the decline is slower. Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! See Brunning (June 2010), p. 6. The chemical in question is called asparagusic acid, though not everyone has the ability to produce it (though most do) and not everyone has the ability to smell it (though most can). (1908). Compared to green asparagus, the locally cultivated so-called "white gold" or "edible ivory" asparagus, also referred to as "the royal vegetable",[50] is believed to be less bitter and much more tender. A mixture of these compounds form a "reconstituted asparagus urine" odor. These are not typically grown in Britain, though you do spot them from time to time, though they have usually come from Holland or Belgium, where white asparagus is popular. The fertility of the soil is a large factor. Asparagus has been used as a vegetable owing to its distinct flavor, and in medicine due to its diuretic properties and its purported function as an aphrodisiac. I must contradict your statement Those familiar with German will recognize Metzger butcher, now a northern word, but formerly current in the south. mood, which in the Old English period meant mind, thought. Thus, keep-mind, thought-preserver, from a belief in its medicinal virtue? In no Old Germanic language was the worm called werm; the recorded forms were wurm, wyrm, wirm, and so forth. In the second century AD, the Greek physician Galen, highly respected within Roman society, mentioned asparagus as a beneficial herb, but as dominance of the Roman empire waned, asparagus' medicinal value drew little attention[72][Note 1]

2 A popular misconception about the origin of a word. Words, as linguistics tells us, are conventional signs. Freshness is very important, and the lower ends of white asparagus must be peeled before cooking or raw consumption. The smell has been reported to be detectable 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion[19][20] and subsides with a half-life of approximately four hours.[21]. Cantonese restaurants in the United States often serve asparagus stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, or beef. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. "Crowns" are planted in winter, and the first shoots appear in spring; the first pickings or "thinnings" are known as sprue asparagus. Atlas der deutschen Alltagssprache: https://www.atlas-alltagssprache.de/runde-2/f09a-b/. Psychology, View all related items in Oxford Reference , Search for: 'folk etymology' in Oxford Reference . . Only seasonally on the menu, asparagus dishes are advertised outside many restaurants, usually from late April to June. Sprue has thin stems.[25]. Our Privacy Policy sets out how Oxford University Press handles your personal information, and your rights to object to your personal information being used for marketing to you or being processed as part of our business activities. [59] More recent work has confirmed that a small proportion of individuals do not produce asparagus urine, and amongst those that do, some cannot detect the odour due to a single-nucleotide polymorphism within a cluster of olfactory receptors. When the vegetable is digested, a group of volatile sulfur-containing compounds is produced. For the French style, asparagus is often boiled or steamed and served with Hollandaise sauce, White sauce, melted butter or most recently with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Oxford University Press'sAcademic Insights for the Thinking World. The biological mechanism for the production of these compounds is less clear. One consolation is that the German cognate of wormwood is Wermut (Anglicized as Wermouth or Vermouth and now producing another wrong association, this time with mouth! There are three main types of asparagus which all come from the same plant: there are the common all-green tender spears that have very good flavour, and then there is white asparagus, made by forcing the spears to grow in the absence of light by earthing up around and over tips. It was once classified in the lily family, like the related Allium species, onions and garlic. Poetic justice can be expected everywhere, even in etymology and pharmacology. A bitter story: etymological gall and wormwood. Alas, vowels, not worms, bother etymologists. Copyright 2007 - 2021 Daily Writing Tips . Peeled asparagus will poach much faster. [46][47], In Asia, an alternative approach to cultivating asparagus has been employed and is referred to as 'Mother Stalk Method' where three to five stalks per plant are allowed to develop into fern, while harvesting adjacent spears.[48]. [49] To cultivate white asparagus, the shoots are covered with soil as they grow, i.e. Anatoly Libermanis the author ofWord Origins And How We Know Themas well asAn Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. The shoots are prepared and served in a number of ways around the world, typically as an appetizer[36] or vegetable side dish. Green asparagus is eaten worldwide, and the availability of imports throughout the year has made it less of a delicacy than it once was. Early in it, there are images of the gigantic spaceship Nostromo. In 2010, the company 23andMe published a genome-wide association study on whether participants have "ever noticed a peculiar odor when [they] pee after eating asparagus". From the French "[] changer mon pot de chambre en un vase de parfum", The French Chef; Asparagus From Tip to Butt, https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T176377A19392993.en, "The French Chef; Asparagus From Tip to Butt", "Excretion and Perception of a Characteristic Odor in Urine after Asparagus Ingestion: a Psychophysical and Genetic Study", "Food idiosyncrasies: beetroot and asparagus", "Why Your Pee Smells Funny After Eating Asparagus", "The proof is in the pee: Population asparagus urinary odor kinetics", "New breed of early asparagus hits the shelves", "Asparagus: this season's hottest shades to grow", "Growing Asparagus in the Home Garden; Section on harvesting", USDA Agricultural Research Service Data section 11 (pg 61), "Food and Agriculture Organisation Statistics (FAOSTAT)", "Asparagus in autumn? In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded as a plural, with false singular aspergy. It is no wonder that our dictionaries call wormwood a word of unknown or obscure origin. Copy this link, or click below to email it to a friend. Metzger is definitively still dominant in western and southern Germany cf. Wood, an extremely knowledgeable and prolific etymologist of the Chicago school, mocked the idea of s-mobile; however, this spurious but intractable element exists.) mistletoe: Mistel, of uncertain origin, was the name of this shrub that grows on trees and is associated with Christmas (originally, with fertility, hence the custom of kissing under a sprig of the plant around the time of the holiday); in Old English, it was called misteltn (mistel twig), and the fading emphasis on the final syllable resulted in the current spelling. [29], Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten: once the buds start to open ("ferning out"), the shoots quickly turn woody.

demijohn: Several hundred years ago, a large, round bottle wrapped in wicker was in French termed a damejeanne (meaning Lady Jane, perhaps from its anthropomorphic appearance). This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. A. officinalis is widely known simply as "asparagus", and may be confused with unrelated plant species also known as "asparagus", such as Ornithogalum pyrenaicum known as "Prussian asparagus" for its edible shoots. (Since I am speaking about wood, I might perhaps mention the fact that Francis A. In the UK, it is estimated that the asparagus harvest season can begin as early as mid-February and continue into late autumn by growing cold-resistant cultivars under heated polytunnels. Etymology of asparagus. Online Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/word/asparagus. I didnt know anything about drake being a version of dragon, but that makes sense, too. But we cannot be sure that such is the true story of massacre. A breed of "early-season asparagus" that can be harvested two months earlier than usual was announced by a UK grower in early 2011. Asparagus is also infamous for a certain side-effect after it has been eaten and digested: the distinctive smell it leaves in our urine, which is liked by some, but hated by others: [Asparagus] cause a filthy and disagreeable smell in the urine, as everybody knows. For example, vituperate goes back to Latin vitium blemish and parare to prepare. But the existence of a blend, unless the blending has occurred before our eyes (as in Brexit, blog, or smog), is hard to prove. Send your etymology question to him care ofblog@oup.com; hell do his best to avoid responding with origin unknown. Subscribe to Anatoly Libermans weekly etymology articles viaemailorRSS. Harper Douglas, Etymology of asparagus, Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed $(datetime), https://www.etymonline.com/word/asparagus. [78], Wild asparagus sauteed with garlic, naam plaa, and soy sauce. Harper, Douglas. "Out of the strong came forth sweetness". plant cultivated for its edible shoots, late 14c., aspergy; late Old English sparage, from Latin asparagus (in Medieval Latin often sparagus), from Greek asparagos/aspharagos, which is of uncertain origin; perhaps with euphonic a- + PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g- "to spring up," but Beekes suggests "it is rather a substrate word," based in part on the p/ph variation. Thus, a little salt was traditionally used to suppress weeds in beds intended for asparagus; this has the disadvantage that the soil cannot be used for anything else. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T176377A19392993. Yet worms are indeed afraid of wormwood. In ancient times, it was also known in Syria and in the Iberian Peninsula. etymology folk wrong saying edition re burial lack barrow wikimedia wheels commons note user It was anglicised to sperach or sperage in the 16th century, but strangely it was officially spelled as asparagus to be in line with Latin. In Old French, the word had several variants: massacre, maacre, macecre, and macecle. The history of some words in this group is instructive and amusing. [38] The bottom portion of asparagus often contains sand and soil, so thorough cleaning is generally advised before cooking. Science and technology A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour Asparagus "transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume. Plants bearing seeds produce spears that are smaller and thinner, and plants without seeds produce larger and thicker spears. It is no longer understood as a suffix (hence the multiplicity of forms, and the words with the remnants of it can belong to any of the three grammatical genders). Given this interpretation, the second syllable will remain a suffix.

Helmut Zipner, who peeled a ton of asparagus in 16 hours, holds the world record in asparagus peeling. Purple asparagus was originally developed in Italy, near the city of Albenga and commercialized under the variety name 'Violetto d' Albenga'. plant whose succulent young shoots are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, edible young shoots of the asparagus plant. In the Netherlands and northern Germany, asparagus is often eaten with ham, boiled egg, potatoes, and a melted butter sauce. But everything in our consciousness militates against such a rupture between word and thing. A more reasonable hypothesis traces the French word to Germanic. burger: This word is a shortening of hamburger, which originally was styled as Hamburger to denote a resident of Hamburg, Germany, or various things originating there. Perhaps even in Old English, the word fell victim to the pressure of folk etymology and m did appear under the influence of worm? Similar beliefs associated with the plant world, though not specifically with wormwood, have been recorded. This is not quite true: it actually began life as asparaguscoming from Medival Latin, then it was shortened to sparage in Late Old English and then further modified to asperages in Middle English. When they fail, people take control of the business and (to give one example) begin to discuss among themselves whether a certain project is hare- or hairbrained. Along the stem of the plant there are strange little leaves that lie flat against the stem; you can remove these if you like, but I tend not to unless the spears are particularly thick. That is why we love words that reveal their origin: sound-symbolic formations and onomatopoeias. As these are more present in young asparagus, this accords with the observation that the smell is more pronounced after eating young asparagus. I have often referred to the mysterious prefix known as s-mobile, that is, movable s. It attaches itself to roots for the reasons no one has been able to explain with sufficient clarity. Though absinthium wormwood was indeed used as a remedy against worms, the vowels in the words that interest us do not match. Thus, back when only noblemen could afford the attention of doctors, it was beneficial to (old and fat) noblemen (and women) suffering from heart disease. Nearly a century later, an adaptation of the term was adopted into English. Years later, someone came up with the same image in the film Alien. [32] Asparagus is low in food energy and very low in sodium. Decades ago (during the 1960s), I was an avid reader of a comic strip that came in a weekly newspaper. [4][5][6][7] It is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop. There was a series of episodes that caught my attention and memory. folk etymology This post lists words for plants, food, and drinks, as well as some terms associated with drinks, derived from words in other languages as a result of folk etymology, a process by which speakers adopt the foreign terms after revising them by using existing elements from their native language. prostratus (Dumort.) Eric Partridge and the etymology of slang (part two), The hedging henchman and his hidden horse, An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction, https://www.atlas-alltagssprache.de/runde-2/f09a-b/. "Human Foods and their Nutritive value". That word was then adopted into English.

Asparagus spears of a middling thickness will take no longer than four minutes, and will most likely be done in three. [Note 1] This term itself derives from the Greek aspharagos or asparagos, but the Greek terms are of uncertain provenance: the latter form admits the possibility of a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to jerk, scatter," directly or via a Persian descendant meaning "twig, branch"; but the Ancient Greek word itself, meaning "gully, chasm," seems to be of Pre-Greek origin instead. [45], When grown under tunnels, growers can extend the harvest season. All Rights Reserved. By 16c. Corb., distinguished by its low-growing, often prostrate stems growing to only 3070 centimetres (1228in) high, and shorter cladodes 218mm (3322332in) long. [40][41] As in continental Europe, due to the short growing season and demand for local produce, asparagus commands a premium price. The effect of eating asparagus on urine excreted afterwards has long been observed: [Asparagus] cause a powerful and disagreeable smell in the urine, as everybody knows.

According to an ingenious hypothesis, massacre is a blend of (am)mazzare to slaughter, kill (compare Engl. Certain compounds in asparagus are metabolized to yield ammonia and various sulfur-containing degradation products, including various thiols and thioesters,[14] which following consumption give urine a characteristic smell. Traditionally it is cooked in a tall asparagus pan so that the spears can be boiled upright. Some natural phenomenon is called rain or snow, and, if you dont know what those words mean, you will never guess. You could not be signed in, please check and try again. [59] Small-scale studies noted that the "asparagus urine" odour was not produced by all individuals and estimates as to the proportion of the population who are excretors (reporting a noticeable asparagus urine odour after eating asparagus) has ranged from about 40%[60] to as high as 79%. [64] A 2010 study[65] found variations in both production of odorous urine and the ability to detect the odor, but that these were not tightly related. mushroom: The name for various species of fungus is derived from the Latin term mussirionem by way of the Old French word meisseron and its Anglo-French variation, musherun. [71], Asparagus was brought to North America by European settlers at least as early as 1655. Online Etymology Dictionary. If you like the blogs and podcast I produce, please consider treating me to a virtual coffee or pint, or even a 3 monthly subscription:follow this link for more information. Etymologists try to show that once upon a time all words had meaningful beginnings, and occasionally they succeed. The fruit is a small red berry 610mm (141332in) in diameter, which is toxic to humans. Serve on toast with some of the asparagus-flavoured butter and poached eggs. Such a suffix did exist in Germanic. 1 An alteration in the form of a word through the influence of a more familiar word or words that people associate with it, as in sparrow-grass for asparagus. The Israeli study found that from their 307 subjects, all of those who could smell "asparagus urine" could detect it in the urine of anyone who had eaten asparagus, even if the person who produced it could not detect it.

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