As an American speaker, I didn't know this, but people in the United Kingdom apparently call eggplants aubergines. Now, I get that it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to call them eggplants either - that name comes from a less frequent variety of the plant where the fruit is white and rounder - but aubergine has an actually fascinating backstory. The word was borrowed from the French, who borrowed it from the neighboring Catalans as alberginera, who borrowed it from the Arabic-speaking Moors as al-badinjan. Al just means "the", but badinjan derives from Persian batenjan, which still referred to the plant. Batenjan is from Sanskrit vatigagama, which had a literal meaning 0f "plant that cures the wind" and might be from something Dravidian. That means a non-Indo-European language loaned a word to an Indo-European language, which then loaned it to another non-Indo-European language, which then loaned it to another Indo-European language, which then loaned it to another Indo-European language, which loaned it to English, also an Indo-European language. Makes perfect sense, right?
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.