[kaw-luh-flou-er, -lee-, kol-uh-, kol-ee-]


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.

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

Contemporary Examples of cauliflower

  • Cauliflower is delicious, potatoes can be good, and I've been thinking about experimenting with bok choy stems.

  • Dip the cauliflower florets in the eggs and then fry them in a preheated pan.

    The Daily Beast logo
    An Israeli Independence Day Menu

    Naama Shefi

    May 10, 2011

  • This reviewer stuck dutifully to "Spring" and tried out the recipe for cauliflower gratin, with aged raw milk cheese.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Eat It Now!

    Katrina Heron

    April 12, 2011

Historical Examples of cauliflower

British Dictionary definitions for cauliflower



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