avocado[av′ə kä′dō, ä′və-]
noun pl. avocados
- a widespread, thick-skinned, pear-shaped tropical fruit, yellowish green to purplish black, with a single large seed and yellow, buttery flesh, used in salads; alligator pear
- the tree (Persea americana) of the laurel family on which it grows
- a yellowish-green color
Origin: altered (infl. by earlier Sp avocado, now abogado, advocate) < MexSp aguacate < Nahuatl a:wakaλ, avocado, lit., testicle; so named from its shape
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. av·o·ca·dos
- a. A tropical American tree (Persea americana) having oval or pear-shaped fruit with leathery skin, yellowish-green flesh, and a large seed.b. The edible fruit of this tree. Also called alligator pear, avocado pear.
- A dull green.
Origin: American Spanish, alteration (influenced by obsolete Spanish avocado, lawyer) of Nahuatl ahuacatl.Word History: The history of avocado takes us back to the Aztecs and their language, Nahuatl, which contained the word ahuacatl meaning both “fruit of the avocado tree” and “testicle.” The word ahuacatl was compounded with others, as in ahuacamolli, meaning “avocado soup or sauce,” from which the Spanish-Mexican word guacamole derives. In trying to pronounce ahuacatl, the Spanish who found the fruit and its Nahuatl name in Mexico came up with aguacate, but other Spanish speakers substituted the form avocado for the Nahuatl word because ahuacatl sounded like the early Spanish word avocado (now abogado), meaning “lawyer.” In borrowing the Spanish avocado, first recorded in English in 1697 in the compound avogato pear (with a spelling that probably reflects Spanish pronunciation), we have lost some traces of the more interesting Nahuatl word.