Tuesday, 24 June 2008


Language hat has an awesome overview of the many and related words for the eggplant, including how the Italian word, melanzana, was folk-etymologized as mela insana "mad apple".

Of the origin of aubergine he says

This is, as you might guess, borrowed from French; the French word is from Catalan albergínia, which is from Arabic al-bādinjān (with the definite article al-), itself borrowed from Persian bādingān, which is probably from Middle Indo-Aryan *vātiñjana-, vātingana-; most sources attribute the latter form to Sanskrit, but I don't find it in my dictionaries.

Same here, altho I did find हस्तिवातिङ्गण hastivātiṅgaṇa in the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon.

The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary says the source of बैंगन baiṃgan "eggplant" is Pali vātiṅgaṇa-, with a Dravidian origin. No other source mentions a Dravidian origin, so I don't know how certain that is. Tamil has வங்கம் vaṅkam, வார்த்தாகம் vārttākam and கத்திரி kattiri.


AdamX said...

Hmm.. Tasty :-p

Mighty Red Pen said...

Aubergine is such a nicer word than eggplant, which for some reason always seemed like the produce version of earwig, another disgusting word. And no, I'm not biased because I'm allergic.