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cabbage1

[kab-ij]
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noun
  1. any of several cultivated varieties of a plant, Brassica oleracea capitata, of the mustard family, having a short stem and leaves formed into a compact, edible head.
  2. the head or leaves of this plant, eaten cooked or raw.
  3. Slang. money, especially paper money.
  4. Chiefly British Informal.
    1. a stupid, dull, or spiritless person.
    2. a mentally impaired person who is unable to live independently; vegetable.

Origin of cabbage1

1350–1400; Middle English caboche, caboge, cabage head of cabbage < dialectal Old French (Picardy, Normandy) literally, head, noggin, equivalent to ca- formative in expressive words, of uncertain origin + boche; see boss2, botch2
Related formscab·bage·like, adjective

cabbage2

[kab-ij]
noun
  1. Chiefly British.
    1. cloth scraps that remain after a garment has been cut from a fabric and that by custom the tailor may claim.
    2. Also called cab.such scraps used for reprocessing.
verb (used with or without object), cab·baged, cab·bag·ing.
  1. to steal; pilfer: He cabbaged whole yards of cloth.

Origin of cabbage2

1615–25; earlier carbage shred, piece of cloth, apparently variant of garbage wheat straw chopped small (obsolete sense)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cabbage

cabbage1

noun
  1. Also called: cole any of various cultivated varieties of the plant Brassica oleracea capitata, typically having a short thick stalk and a large head of green or reddish edible leaves: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also brassica, savoy Compare skunk cabbage, Chinese cabbage
  2. wild cabbage a European plant, Brassica oleracea, with broad leaves and a long spike of yellow flowers: the plant from which the cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprout have been bred
    1. the head of a cabbage
    2. the edible leaf bud of the cabbage palm
  3. informal a dull or unimaginative person
  4. informal, offensive a person who has no mental faculties and is dependent on others for his or her subsistence

Word Origin

C14: from Norman French caboche head; perhaps related to Old French boce hump, bump, Latin caput head

cabbage2

noun
  1. snippets of cloth appropriated by a tailor from a customer's material
verb
  1. to steal; pilfer

Word Origin

C17: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Old French cabas theft
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

Word Origin and History for cabbage

n.

mid-15c., caboge, from Middle French caboche "head" (in dialect, "cabbage"), from Old French caboce "head," a diminutive from Latin caput "head" (see capitulum). Introduced to Canada 1541 by Jacques Cartier on his third voyage. First written record of it in U.S. is 1660s.

The decline of "ch" to "j" in the unaccented final syllable parallels the common pronunciation of spinach, sandwich, Greenwich, etc. The comparison of a head of cabbage to the head of a person (usually disparaging to the latter) is at least as old as Old French cabus "(head of) cabbage; nitwit, blockhead," from Italian cappuccio, diminutive of capo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper