Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

aubergine or eggplant (the name used in N. America), Solanum melongena, botanically a fruit but usually counted as a vegetable. It originated in India, and is now grown in suitable climates worldwide.

‘Aubergine’ has a complicated derivation, which prompted Leclerc (1927) to write:

The word aubergine is amongst those which must fill with joy the souls of those philologists whose innocent mania is to claim that every term in the language derives from Sanskrit; without in the least being forced into the tortuous acrobatics which such exercises usually entail, they may elegantly and painlessly prove that vatin gana, the name of the aubergine in Sanskrit, gave birth to the Persian badingen.