[ kaw-luh-flou-er, -lee-, kol-uh-, kol-ee- ]
/ ˈkɔ ləˌflaʊ ər, -li-, ˈkɒl ə-, ˈkɒl i- /


a form of cultivated plant, Brassica oleracea botrytis, of the mustard family, whose inflorescence forms a compact, usually whitish head.Compare broccoli.
this head, used as a vegetable.

Nearby words

  1. cauldron,
  2. caulescent,
  3. caulfield,
  4. caulicle,
  5. cauliflory,
  6. cauliflower cheese,
  7. cauliflower ear,
  8. cauliflower fungus,
  9. cauliflowerette,
  10. cauline

Origin of cauliflower

1590–1600; < Latin cauli(s) cole + flower; replacing coleflorie < Italian ca(v)olfiore, equivalent to cavol cole + fiore < Latin flōri- (stem of flōs) flower Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cauliflower

British Dictionary definitions for cauliflower


/ (ˈkɒlɪˌflaʊə) /


a variety of cabbage, Brassica oleracea botrytis, having a large edible head of crowded white flowers on a very short thick stem
the flower head of this plant, used as a vegetable

Word Origin for cauliflower

C16: from Italian caoli fiori, literally: cabbage flowers, from cavolo cabbage (from Latin caulis) + fiore flower (from Latin flōs)

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 cauliflower



1590s, originally cole florye, from Italian cavoli fiori "flowered cabbage," plural of cavolo "cabbage" + fiore "flower" (from Latin flora; see flora).

First element is from Latin caulis "cabbage" (originally "stem, stalk") which was borrowed into Germanic and is the source of cole in cole-slaw and of Scottish kale. The front end of the word was re-Latinized from 18c.; the back end was influenced by flower (n.). The boxer's cauliflower ear is from 1907.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper