Home » British English » Brinjal, Brown Jolly, and Aubergine — Siblings Separated by Centuries

Brinjal, Brown Jolly, and Aubergine — Siblings Separated by Centuries

Play episode
Shuba in Sammamish, Washington, grew up in India, where she heard speakers of Indian English refer to an eggplant as a brinjal. She assumed that this was a British English term, but later realized that in Britain, this vegetable is called an aubergine. The CRC Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants (Bookshop|Amazon), by Umberto Quattrocchi, lists 116 different words used in India to denote an “eggplant,” many of them similar to brinjal. Actually, brinjal and aubergine and even the Italian name for this vegetable, melanzana, are etymologically related, going back ultimately to Sanskrit. In the Caribbean, eggplant often goes by the name brown jolly, which is yet another adaptation of this earlier form. This is part of a complete episode.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

Tight as a Tick

The expression tight as a tick is inspired by the idea of being full-to-bursting, like one of those insects when it’s engorged with blood. Tight as a tick can also describe someone who’s quite drunk or very miserly. Other phrases that...

Recent posts

British English