Tuesday, March 29, 2011

British Word of the Day

Alba in Aubergine
aubergine [ˈəʊbəˌʒiːn]n
1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Plants) a tropical Old World solanaceous plant, Solanum melongena, widely cultivated for its egg-shaped typically dark purple fruit US, Canadian, and Australian name eggplant
2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Plants) the fruit of this plant, which is cooked and eaten as a vegetable
3. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours)
a.  a dark purple colour
b.  (as adjective) an aubergine dress
[from French, from Catalan alberginia, from Arabic al-bādindjān, ultimately from Sanskrit vatin-ganah, of obscure origin]

'How about marinated aubergine to start with?  And would you like sea bass to follow?'--Nanny By Chance
So it's not technically a British word (as it comes from Catalan) but Americans would probably never call an eggplant an aubergine.  New York fashion designers, to a man, must have fallen to their knees in an attitude of thanksgiving when they heard the word, saving them, as it did, from the silent implication of grandmotherly dowdiness that 'eggplant' implies.