9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[zoo-kee-nee] /zuˈki ni/
noun, plural zucchini, zucchinis.
a variety of summer squash that is shaped like a cucumber and that has a smooth, dark-green skin.
the plant bearing this fruit.
Also called, especially British, courgette.
Origin of zucchini
1925-30, Americanism; < Italian, plural of zucchino, equivalent to zucc(a) gourd (see zucchetto) + -ino diminutive suffix
Usage note
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for zucchini
  • 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.
  • We also had a little side of leftovers from the night before of zucchini and shrimp risotto.
  • Spread zucchini out in one layer on the oven's baking pan, and drizzle with oil.
  • Creamy pasta with roasted zucchini, almonds and basil.
  • Appetizer selections include roasted peppers with anchovies, baked clams, stuffed mushrooms and fried zucchini.
  • Lighter options include the spinach enchiladas topped with tomatillo sauce and accompanied by green rice and zucchini.
  • Stop by a roadside farm stand on the way to your campsite for fresh corn, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini.
British Dictionary definitions for zucchini


/tsuːˈkiːnɪ; zuː-/
noun (pl) -ni, -nis
a small variety of vegetable marrow, cooked and eaten as a vegetable Also called (esp in Britain) courgette
Word Origin
Italian, pl of zucchino, literally: a little gourd, from zucca gourd; see zucchetto
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for zucchini

1929, from Italian, plural of zucchino, diminutive of zucca "gourd, squash," perhaps from Late Latin cucutia, which is of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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