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spinach

[spin-ich]
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noun
  1. a plant, Spinacia oleracea, cultivated for its edible, crinkly or flat leaves.
  2. the leaves.
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Origin of spinach

1520–30; < Middle French espinache, espinage < Old Spanish espinaca, alteration of Arabic isfānākh, perhaps < Persian
Related formsspin·ach·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for spinach

spinach

noun
  1. a chenopodiaceous annual plant, Spinacia oleracea, cultivated for its dark green edible leaves
  2. the leaves of this plant, eaten as a vegetable
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French espinache, from Old Spanish espinaca, from Arabic isfānākh, from Persian
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 spinach

n.

c.1400, from Anglo-French spinache, Old French espinache (Modern French épinard), from Old Provençal espinarc, which perhaps is via Catalan espinac, from Andalusian Arabic isbinakh, from Arabic isbanakh, from Persian aspanakh "spinach." But OED is not convinced the Middle Eastern words are native, and based on the plethora of Romanic forms pronounces the origin "doubtful." Old folk etymology connected the word with Latin spina (see spine) or with Medieval Latin Hispanicum olus. For pronunciation, see cabbage. In 1930s colloquial American English, it had a sense of "nonsense, rubbish," based on a famous "New Yorker" cartoon of Dec. 8, 1928.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper