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zucchini

[zoo-kee-nee] /zuˈki ni/
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 of zucchini
1925-1930
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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for zucchini

zucchini

/tsuːˈkiːnɪ; zuː-/
noun (pl) -ni, -nis
1.
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
n.

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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