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[uh-spar-uh-guh s] /əˈspær ə gəs/
any plant of the genus Asparagus, of the lily family, especially A. officianalis, cultivated for its edible shoots.
the shoots, eaten as a vegetable.
Origin of asparagus
before 1000; < Latin < Greek asp(h)áragos; replacing Old English sparagi (< Medieval Latin) and later sperage, sparrowgrass
Related forms
[as-puh-raj-uh-nuh s] /ˌæs pəˈrædʒ ə nəs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for asparagus


any Eurasian liliaceous plant of the genus Asparagus, esp the widely cultivated A. officinalis, having small scaly or needle-like leaves
the succulent young shoots of A. officinalis, which may be cooked and eaten
asparagus fern, a fernlike species of asparagus, A. plumosus, native to southern Africa
Word Origin
C15: from Latin, from Greek asparagos, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for asparagus

late Old English sparage, from Latin asparagus (in Medieval Latin often sparagus), from Greek asparagos, of uncertain origin; probably from PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g- "to spring up" (though perhaps from a non-Greek source). In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded as a plural, with false singular aspergy.

By 16c. the word had been anglicized as far as sperach, sperage. It was respelled by c.1600 to conform with classical Latin, but then folk-etymologized formation sparrowgrass arose 17c., persisting into 19c., during which time asparagus had "an air of stiffness and pedantry" [John Walker, "Critical Pronouncing Dictionary," 1791]. Known in Old English as eorðnafela.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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