11 Trending Words of 2014
late 14c., from Old French cocombre (13c., Modern French concombre), from Latin cucumerem (nominative cucumis), perhaps from a pre-Italic Mediterranean language. The Latin word also is the source of Italian cocomero, Spanish cohombro, Portuguese cogombro. Replaced Old English eorþæppla (plural), literally "earth-apples."
Cowcumber was common form 17c.-18c., and that pronunciation lingered into 19c. Planted as a garden vegetable by 1609 by Jamestown colonists. Phrase cool as a cucumber (c.1732) embodies ancient folk knowledge confirmed by science in 1970: inside of a field cucumber on a warm day is 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature.
(Heb. plur. kishshuim; i.e., "hard," "difficult" of digestion, only in Num. 11:5). This vegetable is extensively cultivated in the East at the present day, as it appears to have been in earlier times among the Hebrews. It belongs to the gourd family of plants. In the East its cooling pulp and juice are most refreshing. "We need not altogether wonder that the Israelites, wearily marching through the arid solitudes of the Sinaitic peninsula, thought more of the cucumbers and watermelons of which they had had no lack in Egypt, rather than of the cruel bondage which was the price of these luxuries." Groser's Scripture Natural History. Isaiah speaks of a "lodge" (1:8; Heb. sukkah), i.e., a shed or edifice more solid than a booth, for the protection throughout the season from spring to autumn of the watchers in a "garden of cucumbers."