c.1150, "plant like watercress," from L. nasturtium
"cress;" the popular etymology explanation of the name (Pliny) is that it is from L. *nasitortium,
lit. "nose-twist," from nasus
"nose" + pp. of torquere
"to twist" (see thwart
); the plant so called for its pungent odor. Modern application to S.Amer. trailing plant with orange flowers first recorded 1704.