the small, immature fruit of a variety of cucumber, used in pickling.
Also called bur gherkin, gooseberry gourd, West Indian gherkin. the small, spiny fruit of a tropical vine, Cucumis anguria, of the gourd family, used in pickling.
the plant yielding this fruit.
a small pickle, especially one made from this fruit.

1655–65; < Dutch gurken, plural of gurk (German Gurke) < Slavic; compare Polish ogórek, Czech okurkaPersian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gherkin (ˈɡɜːkɪn)
1.  the immature fruit of any of various cucumbers, used for pickling
2.  a.  a tropical American cucurbitaceous climbing plant, Cucumis anguria
 b.  the small edible fruit of this plant
[C17: from early modern Dutch agurkkijn, diminutive of gurk, from Slavonic, ultimately from Greek angourion]

Gherkin (ˈɡɜːkɪn)
n , the
an informal name for Swiss Re Tower

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1661, from Du. pl. of gurk "cucumber," shortened form of E.Fris. augurk "cucumber," probably from a Balto-Slavic source (cf. Polish ogórek "cucumber"), possibly ult. from Medieval Gk. angourion "a kind of cucumber," said to be from Pers. angarah. The -h- was added 1800s to preserve the hard "g"
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(Cucumis anguria), trailing vine, of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), grown for its edible fruit. The gherkins sold in pickle mixtures are not C. anguria but rather are small pickled immature fruits of cultivars of the cucumber (C. sativus). A true gherkin has palmately lobed leaves with toothed edges, small flowers, and furrowed, prickly fruits about five centimetres (two inches) long that are borne on crooked stalks. Although its fruit is also pickled, the plant is frequently grown only as a curiosity.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
They have been doused in vinegar that may have been recycled from the gherkin bottle.
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