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[gur-kin] /ˈgɜr kɪn/
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.
Origin of gherkin
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gherkin
  • They have been doused in vinegar that may have been recycled from the gherkin bottle.
British Dictionary definitions for gherkin


the immature fruit of any of various cucumbers, used for pickling
  1. a tropical American cucurbitaceous climbing plant, Cucumis anguria
  2. the small edible fruit of this plant
Word Origin
C17: from early modern Dutch agurkkijn, diminutive of gurk, from Slavonic, ultimately from Greek angourion


the Gherkin, an informal name for Swiss Re Tower
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gherkin

small cucumber used for pickling, 1660s, from early modern Dutch gurken, augurken (late 16c.) "small pickled cucumber," from East Frisian augurk "cucumber," probably from a Balto-Slavic source (cf. Polish ogórek "cucumber"), possibly ultimately from Medieval Greek angourion "a kind of cucumber," said to be from Persian angarah [Klein, etc.], but OED seems to regard this as unlikely. A Dutch source says the Greek is from a word for "immature" and that the vegetable originated in northern India and came to Eastern Europe via the Byzantine Empire.

The Dutch suffix is perhaps the diminutive -kin, though some regard it as a plural affix, with the Dutch word mistaken for a singular in English. The -h- was added 1800s to preserve the hard "g" pronunciation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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