Sunday, November 10, 2013


Our English word "cabbage" probably comes from the French influence wrought in England following Guillaume le Conquérant's 1066 conquest; it's most likely a derivative of the Norman French caboche for head. Caboche in turn suggests the even earlier Old French word boce, which means hump or bump, and the Latin caput for head. 

The French language reference book of choice, Le Littré, tells us that in Old French the word for cabbage was li chols or chos or chous. Today it's simply "chou" in the singular, and "choux" in the plural. Pictured above, center, is the rounded and smooth and very common variety, chou cabus. No wonder.

mon chou:  a term of endearment meaning my darling
un bout de chou:  a small child
faire chou blanc:  to fail at something or to draw a blank
être bête comme un chou: to be stupid or dull (as for a person); to be simple or easy (as for a task to do)
aller planter ses choux: to take one's retirement in the country; to not take risks; to withdraw

©2013 P.B. Lecron

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