- a plant (Allium cepa) of the lily family, having an edible bulb with a strong, sharp smell and taste
- the bulb of this plant, formed of close, concentric layers of leaf bases
- any of various related plants
Origin of onionMiddle English oynon from Old French oignon from Classical Latin unio (gen. unionis), oneness, unity, also a kind of single onion: see union
- a. A bulbous plant (Allium cepa) cultivated worldwide as a vegetable.b. The rounded edible bulb of this plant, composed of fleshy, tight, concentric leaf bases having a pungent odor and taste.
- Any of several other plants in the genus Allium.
Origin of onionMiddle English oynoun, unyon from Anglo-Norman oignon, ongnon from Vulgar Latin uniō uniōn- variant of Latin ūniō ūniōn- length of the initial u uncertain), perhaps from ūnus one (in reference to the single compact bulb of the onion, as opposed to the multiple cloves of garlic) ; see oi-no in Indo-European roots. or perhaps akin to Sanskrit u&slowdot;nah onion Pashto ū&zhookr;a; garlic and Hittite waš&hlowbrev;ar, -waš&hlowbrev;an- in šuppiwaš&hlowbrev;ar onion ( šuppi- pure )
Middle English onyon, union, oinyon, from Anglo-Norman union et al. and Old French oignon, from Latin Å«niÅnem, accusative of Å«niÅ (“onion, large pearl") (probably from Å«nus (“one"), but perhaps compare Hittite waÅ¡á¸«ar (“garlic"), Sanskrit à¤‰à¤·à¥à¤£ (uá¹£á¹‡a, “onion"), Pashto ÙˆÙˆÚ–Ù‡ (Å«Å¾a, “garlic"), Khowar wÇáº“nÅ« (“garlic") ). Displaced the inherited term ramsons.