In the early 1500s, England began training with the rest of Europe more frequently. In this process, they picked up the Lombard word articiocco. As that developed in English for the next few centuries, people began to mistakenly use -choke instead of -cioccio as the suffix simply because they thought it was right; this type of change, known as folk etymology, is particularly fascinating. Anyway, articioccio comes from the Old Spanish word alcarchofa, and since they had a lot of interactions with the Moors because of conquests and all that, alcarchofa comes from the Arabic word al-kursuf. Throughout all this time the word retained the meaning that we know today, but before then, it meant something different. Philologists theorize that the Arabic term may derive from the Akkadian word arsupu, which described a type of grainy, braid-like cereal, but also a type of fruit and a fish scales. Akkadians were weird. Usage of artichoke has been on the rise since its first, accidental emergence in the mid-1700s.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd