In Ancient Greek, the word ambrosia was used to describe the mythological food of the gods. Literally, it can be translated along the lines of "of the immortals", because it comes from the prefix a-, meaning "not", and the root mbrotos, which is a variant of mortos, meaning "mortal". I've covered a- many times before, but mortos comes from the Proto-Indo-European root mer, which meant "to die". Mer has a really eclectic mix of descendants, from mortal and mortgage to morsal, mortar, nightmare, and remorse. Anyway, ambrosia was borrowed into English in the early sixteenth century through Latin, started being used figuratively for very tasty foods in the early seventeenth century, and came to be applied to a type of fruit salad in the 1860s. It also lent its name to types of beetle, fungus, and pollen, and peaked in usage in 1809.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.