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[uh-spar-uh-guh s] /əˈspær ə gəs/
any plant of the genus Asparagus, of the lily family, especially A. officianalis, cultivated for its edible shoots.
the shoots, eaten as a vegetable.
Origin of asparagus
before 1000; < Latin < Greek asp(h)áragos; replacing Old English sparagi (< Medieval Latin) and later sperage, sparrowgrass
Related forms
[as-puh-raj-uh-nuh s] /ˌæs pəˈrædʒ ə nəs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for asparagus
  • She was curious whether, after eating asparagus, they could smell it when they urinated.
  • Giant white asparagus tied with string on a silver platter lie below vases filled with spectacular flower arrangements.
  • Caviar, asparagus, and slices of strawberry are arranged artfully on a plate.
  • The next delightful green vegetable is wild asparagus, delicious and tender, found around fence posts where birds drop the seed.
  • If asparagus is in season, then the meal will likely be asparagus-based.
  • asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan.
  • His grandparents were asparagus farmers, and he grew up on a farm.
  • First, make thin ribbons of raw asparagus, fennel and radish.
  • Try the salmon fillet with asparagus risotto or a two-course fixed-price lunch.
  • He shaved corn off a cob, threw some thin asparagus tips into a pot of boiling water briefly and then cut those up, too.
British Dictionary definitions for asparagus


any Eurasian liliaceous plant of the genus Asparagus, esp the widely cultivated A. officinalis, having small scaly or needle-like leaves
the succulent young shoots of A. officinalis, which may be cooked and eaten
asparagus fern, a fernlike species of asparagus, A. plumosus, native to southern Africa
Word Origin
C15: from Latin, from Greek asparagos, of obscure origin
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
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Word Origin and History for asparagus

late Old English sparage, from Latin asparagus (in Medieval Latin often sparagus), from Greek asparagos, of uncertain origin; probably from PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g- "to spring up" (though perhaps from a non-Greek source). In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded as a plural, with false singular aspergy.

By 16c. the word had been anglicized as far as sperach, sperage. It was respelled by c.1600 to conform with classical Latin, but then folk-etymologized formation sparrowgrass arose 17c., persisting into 19c., during which time asparagus had "an air of stiffness and pedantry" [John Walker, "Critical Pronouncing Dictionary," 1791]. Known in Old English as eorðnafela.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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