Word Family - Brassica


There's a very cool fact: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kohlrabi, and others are all the species of plant, namely Brassica oleracea, selectively bred for different parts of the plant. (https://www.google.com/search?q=brassica+oleracea+selection)

Only recently did I realized that many of the English words are related to each other too! (It's probably much more obvious in the other languages that have these words)


cole slaw, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *keh₂ulós tube? cylinder? bone?
    • Balto-Slavic *káuˀlas
      • Lithuanian káulas bone
    • Hellenic
      • Ancient Greek καυλός kaulós stem, stalk, shaft
        • Greek καυλί kavlí penis (vulgar)
        • Latin caulis stalk, stem, especially cabbage stem, penis
    • Indo-Iranian
      • Indo-Aryan
        • Sanskrit कुल्या kulyā creek, canal
    • Italic
      • Latin caulis stalk, stem, especially cabbage stem, penis
        • Western Romance
          • French chou cabbage
            • French chou-chou
          • Italian cavolo cabbage [1]
          • Spanish col cabbage
        • Old English cawel
          • Middle English col
            • English cole
              • English cole slaw
            • Middle English colwort
              • English colewort
              • English collard (greens)
            • Irish cál
              • Irish cál ceannann
                • English colcannon
            • Middle English cale
              • English kale
                • Japanese ケール kēru
          • Old Norse kál
            • Danish kål cabbage, kale
            • Icelandic kál any Brassica plant
            • Finnish kaali
        • Old High German kōlo
          • German Kohl
            • German Kohlrabi
              • English kohlrabi
        • Vulgar Latin *cauli-flōre cabbage flower
          • Western Romance
            • French chou-fleur cauliflower
              • Wolof sufëlëer cauliflower
            • Italian cavolfiore cauliflower
              • German Karfiol cauliflower
                • Hungarian karfiol cauliflower
                • Serbo-Croatian карфиол karfiol cauliflower
              • Polish kalafior cauliflower
            • Spanish coliflor cauliflower
              • Tagalog kóliplór cauliflower
          • English cauliflower


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Collected English words

cole, cole slaw, colewort, collard (greens), colcannon, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower

But notably not part of this word family (but all Brassicas) are:

  • broccoli, despite the 'col' in the middle. broccoli is a plural dimunitive of brocco, just cannoli is a plural dimunitive of canna: "tube, cane" (see Cane). brocco is probably means "pointy", related to "brooch" and "brocade".
  • kailan/gailan (or "Chinese kale") which, despite the 'kail' sequence, is really kai (or gai) + lan, and ultimately from Old Chinese *kreːds + *ɡ·raːn
  • cabbage, of unknown origin, which is not explainable as some weird French version of caulis. Though it may be a weird French versions of caput: "head".
  • Brussels sprouts, which of course is named after the city of Brussels. But the words for "Brussels sprouts" in most European languages other than English are in this family: in Romance languages, they are generally called "cabbage of Brussels", and uses the Romance "cabbage' words in this family (e.g., chou de Bruxelles, cavolino di Bruxelles, col de Bruselas); and in many Germanic languages they are called "rose-cabbage", and likewise uses the version of this word, e.g. rosenkål, Rosenkohl, etc.