Today's Word "Garlic"

An onion like plant used for seasoning on

Published in Vocabulary

Garlic \GAH(r)-lik\ (noun) - An onion-like plant of the species Allium sativum with an edible bulb that separates into distinct sections, called 'cloves' (from cleave, i.e. cleft sections) and which has a strong smell and taste, used for seasoning.

"While in sufficient quantities garlic can be quite efficacious in the warding of vampires and zombies, it has no effect whatsoever on werewolves or mummies."


Today's word descended from an Old English compound, "garleac," comprising gare "spear" + leac "leek." The root "gar-" appears in "garfish," the fish with the spear-like nose. "Leek" began its life as Old Germanic *lauko-, visible in Icelandic hvitlaukur "garlic" and borrowed by Finnish as laukka "onion," where it changed very little. It did change a bit in Slavic languages, as you can see in the Russian and Serbian word luk "onion." Despite the fact that it refers to countable objects, today's word is a mass noun, which means that it has no plural. It behaves like nouns referring masses or substances with indeterminate boundaries, like "water," "air," "contemplation." We can say," two onions" but NEVER "two garlics;" instead, we must say "two heads of garlic" or "two cloves of garlic."


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