bolls

boll

[bohl]
noun Botany.
a rounded seed vessel or pod of a plant, as of flax or cotton.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English bolle, perhaps < Middle Dutch bolle (Dutch bol), though formally identical with bowl1

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World English Dictionary
boll (bəʊl)
 
n
the fruit of such plants as flax and cotton, consisting of a rounded capsule containing the seeds
 
[C13: from Dutch bolle; related to Old English bollabowl1]

Böll (German bœl)
 
n
Heinrich (ˈhaɪnrɪç) (Theodor). 1917--85, German novelist and short-story writer; his novels include Group Portrait with Lady (1971): Nobel prize for literature 1972

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

boll
O.E. bolla "bowl, cup, pot," merged with M.Du. bolle "round object," borrowed 13c., both from P.Gmc. *bul-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole). Influenced in meaning by L. bulla "bubble, ball," ultimately from the same PIE root. Extended c.1500 to "round seed pod
of flax or cotton." Boll weevil is 1895, Amer.Eng.
"In south Texas, among Spanish-speaking people, the insect is generally known as the 'picudo,' a descriptive name which refers to the snout or beak of the insect. English-speaking planters generally referred to the insect at first as 'the sharpshooter,' a term which for many years has been applied to any insect which causes through its punctures the shedding of the squares or the rotting of the bolls. As there are several native insects that are commonly called sharpshooters and which, though injurious, are by no means to be compared with this insect, it becomes necessary to discourage in every way the use of the word sharpshooter as applied to this weevil. The adoption of the term 'Mexican cotton-boll weevil' for the new pest is recommended." [New Mexico College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 19, April 1896]
A case of entomology meddling in etymology.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
boll   (bōl)  Pronunciation Key 
The seed-bearing capsule of certain plants, especially cotton and flax.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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