zucchini

[zoo-kee-nee]
noun, plural zucchini, zucchinis.
1.
a variety of summer squash that is shaped like a cucumber and that has a smooth, dark-green skin.
2.
the plant bearing this fruit.
Also called, especially British, courgette.


Origin:
1925–30, Americanism; < Italian, plural of zucchino, equivalent to zucc(a) gourd (see zucchetto) + -ino diminutive suffix


This vegetable (actually an immature fruit), borrowed from Italy along with its name, has, in its native Italian language, both a feminine form (zucchina, with the plural zucchine) and a masculine form (zucchino, with the plural zucchini). It is the latter plural that has made it into English. And as with other Italian foods that enrich our vocabulary along with our diets, we have imported a plural form—only to treat it as a singular noun. Spaghetti, ravioli, tortellini, and fettuccini grace not only our dinner tables but our dictionaries, which show that English speakers normally treat these terms as mass (that is, uncountable) nouns rather than as plurals. We say, “This spaghetti is delicious” or “I'd like some fettuccini,” since we are not referring to individual pieces but to a cooked or cookable dish of pasta. Jokingly, we occasionally acknowledge Italian grammar, as by claiming to pick up one thin “spaghetto” or a puffy “raviolo.” Zucchini, however, is different. Because of the vegetable's size, it is a count noun when whole; you can bring home six zucchini or zucchinis from the supermarket. But when it is sliced, cooked, and served, you once again have a dish of food that is talked about as a mass noun. And in that form, some zucchini is absolutely delicious.
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World English Dictionary
zucchini (tsuːˈkiːnɪ, zuː-)
 
n , pl -ni, -nis
Also called (esp in Britain): courgette a small variety of vegetable marrow, cooked and eaten as a vegetable
 
[Italian, pl of zucchino, literally: a little gourd, from zucca gourd; see zucchetto]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

zucchini
1929, pl. of zucchino, dim. of zucca "gourd, squash," perhaps from L.L. cucutia, of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Add grated zucchini, carrots, or apples to plain muffin mix.
When you buy zucchini, you can feel confident it won't be toxic.
Early models rarely arrived without goat cheese and grilled eggplant, red
  peppers, and zucchini.
Add zucchini and butternut squash to broth and return to a simmer.
Image for zucchini
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