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[brok-uh-lee, brok-lee] /ˈbrɒk ə li, ˈbrɒk li/
a form of a cultivated cruciferous plant, Brassica oleracea botrytis, whose leafy stalks and clusters of usually green buds are eaten as a vegetable.
Compare cauliflower.
Origin of broccoli
1690-1700; < Italian, plural of broccolo, equivalent to brocc(o) sprout (< Late Latin; see broach) + -olo diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for broccolis
Historical Examples
  • broccolis sometimes acquire a bitter taste, the cause of which is not known.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • They are fully exposed, and not protected by the leaves as most other broccolis are.

  • London believed that the broccolis, which Miller says first came to England from Italy in 1719, were derived from the cauliflower.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • When broccolis came to England from Italy, they were at first known under the names "sprout-cauliflower," or "Italian asparagus."

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • These, and other considerations, make it seem doubtful that our broccolis have originated from our cauliflowers.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • Mentioned in Bon Jardinier, in 1859, as one of the three principal broccolis, with which it is generally and properly classed.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • The broccolis are so similar to the cauliflowers that some account of them may be expected in a treatise on the latter vegetable.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • In Northern Florida, where cauliflowers are liable to be killed during winter, broccolis will stand out without any protection.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • There is difference of opinion as to whether our cauliflowers or the broccolis were first to originate.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • The requirements of cultivation for the broccolis are practically the same as those for cauliflowers.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
British Dictionary definitions for broccolis


a cultivated variety of cabbage, Brassica oleracea italica, having branched greenish flower heads
the flower head of this plant, eaten as a vegetable before the buds have opened
a variety of this plant that does not form a head, whose stalks are eaten as a vegetable
Word Origin
C17: from Italian, plural of broccolo a little sprout, from brocco sprout, spike; see brocade
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 broccolis



1690s, from Italian broccoli, plural of broccolo "a sprout, cabbage sprout," diminutive of brocco "shoot, protruding tooth, small nail" (see brocade (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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