Origin: ModL < L < Gr asparagos < IE base *sp(h)er(e)g-, to spring up, sprout > spring, spark
See asparagus in American Heritage Dictionary 4
Origin: Late Middle English sperage, sparage
Origin: , from Medieval Latin sparagus
Origin: , from Latin asparagus
Origin: , from Greek aspharagos, asparagos. Word History: The history of the word asparagus is a good illustration of one of the peculiarities of English etymology—one found in few other languages. After the rebirth of classical learning during the Renaissance, Greek and Latin achieved a lofty status among the educated. As a result, etymologists and spelling reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries tried to give English a classical look by Latinizing or Hellenizing the spelling of words that had Latin or Greek ancestry (and even some that didn't). For example, Medieval Latin had a word sparagus, from Classical Latin asparagus, that was borrowed into Middle English and rendered as sparage or, more commonly, sperage. Botanists were familiar with the proper Latin version asparagus, and their use of that term together with the efforts of the etymologists caused the Latin form to become more widespread, eventually supplanting sperage. Thus, it is difficult to say whether the Modern English word asparagus is a direct continuation of Middle English sperage or a borrowing directly from Latin, a difficulty one encounters with hundreds of other words whose spellings and even pronunciations were Latinized during this time. • The Latin form asparagus lives on in another guise as well; in the 1600s it was shortened in popular speech to ’sparagus, which became sparagrass, sparrowgrass by folk etymology.
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