May. 3rd, 2017

calabash

May. 3rd, 2017 08:18 am
prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (Default)
calabash (KAL-uh-bash) - n., a tropical vine (Lagenaria siceraria) grown for its fruit, which can be harvested young (and used as a vegetable) or mature (dried and used as a container), also called bottle gourd; a tropical American tree (Crescentia cujete) grown for its gourdlike fruits, which are used as containers and musical instruments, also called calabash tree; the fruit of either of these or related plants; a utensil, container, or musical instrument made from the dried, hollowed-out shell of these fruits; a smoking pipe with a curved stem and a large bowl made from the shell of a gourd.


The vine was originally from Africa, and one of the earliest plants to be domesticated, probably to make containers (they are hard enough you can cook with them) and transmitted worldwide by both humans and seed transportation (it arrived in the New World before Columbus). The word was adopted in 1597 from Spanish calabaza, pumpkin/gourd, either directly or via French calebasse, gourd. Whence the Spanish word, is uncertain -- possibilities include Arabic qarʿa yābisa, dry gourd, Persian xarboza/xarboze, melon, Ancient Greek karpós, or a pre-Roman Iberian word *calapaccia, which would be cognate with the French from a similar ancient origin.

---L.

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