[ zoo-kee-nee ]
/ zuˈki ni /
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Definition of zucchini

noun, plural zuc·chi·ni, zuc·chi·nis.
a variety of summer squash that is shaped like a cucumber and that has a smooth, dark-green skin.
the plant bearing this fruit.


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Also called, especially British, courgette.

Origin of zucchini

1925–30, Americanism;<Italian, plural of zucchino, equivalent to zucc(a) gourd (see zucchetto) + -ino diminutive suffix

usage note for zucchini

This vegetable (actually an immature fruit), borrowed from Italy along with its name, has, in its native Italian language, both a feminine form ( zucchina, with the plural zucchine ) and a masculine form ( zucchino, with the plural zucchini ). It is the latter plural that has made it into English. And as with other Italian foods that enrich our vocabulary along with our diets, we have imported a plural form—only to treat it as a singular noun. Spaghetti, ravioli, tortellini, and fettuccini grace not only our dinner tables but our dictionaries, which show that English speakers normally treat these terms as mass (that is, uncountable) nouns rather than as plurals. We say, “This spaghetti is delicious” or “I'd like some fettuccini,” since we are not referring to individual pieces but to a cooked or cookable dish of pasta. Jokingly, we occasionally acknowledge Italian grammar, as by claiming to pick up one thin “spaghetto” or a puffy “raviolo.” Zucchini, however, is different. Because of the vegetable's size, it is a count noun when whole; you can bring home six zucchini or zucchinis from the supermarket. But when it is sliced, cooked, and served, you once again have a dish of food that is talked about as a mass noun. And in that form, some zucchini is absolutely delicious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a zucchini?

A zucchini is a type of summer squash that usually resembles a smooth, long, dark-green cylinder. Both the squash and the plant it grows on are called a zucchini.

Like other types of squash, zucchini grows in the ground from a vine-like plant that resembles a bush with thick leaves. Green zucchini look very similar to cucumbers, although zucchini may be yellow or have stripes.

Both zucchini and zucchinis can be used as the plural of zucchini.

In British English, this type of squash is called a courgette.

Example: My aunt owns a farm where she grows zucchini.

Where does zucchini come from?

The first records of zucchini come from around 1925. The word is an Americansim that comes from the plural of zucchino, the Italian name for the plant and fruit. Zucchini being used as both the singular and plural is in line with other Italian words we use for foods, such as spaghetti, ravioli, and linguini.

Zucchini is very good for you. It is very low in calories, has a lot of vitamins and minerals needed for good health, and is low in both fats and carbohydrates. Zucchini can be eaten raw or can be cooked. You can make vegetable noodles out of it (sometimes called zoodles) or grate it to put it into a quick bread.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to zucchini?

  • zucchinis (plural noun)

What are some synonyms for zucchini?

What are some words that share a root or word element with zucchini

What are some words that often get used in discussing zucchini?

How is zucchini used in real life?

Zucchini can be eaten raw but is often used in stir-frys or to make zucchini bread.

Try using zucchini!

True or False?

Zucchini is a type of squash.

How to use zucchini in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for zucchini

/ (tsuːˈkiːnɪ, zuː-) /

noun plural -ni or -nis
a small variety of vegetable marrow, cooked and eaten as a vegetableAlso called (esp in Britain): courgette

Word Origin for zucchini

Italian, pl of zucchino, literally: a little gourd, from zucca gourd; see zucchetto
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