Greetings! Another week has passed by and we’re already well into the month of October. If autumn gales and falling leaves are bringing you down, don’t despair – T for Translation is here to cheer you up with a sunny edition of Wacky Word Wednesday!
Here’s this week’s word from TermWiki.com’s treasure trove:
1. a small, round, or oval citrus fruit with a sweet rind and acid pulp.
Words perceived as wacky in the English language frequently have their roots in other languages. Just consider some of our previous features: tromple l’oeil, chthonic, cachinnate – all words that for the most part owe their wackiness to their outlandish ring. This week’s decidedly exotic word came to English from Cantonese, a language (or dialect, depending on your stance regarding the language-dialect dichotomy) spoken mainly in South China as well as countless overseas Chinese communities. It is traced back to the Cantonese gāmgwāt, cognate to jīnjú (金橘) in Mandarin which literally means ‘golden tangerine.’
The kumquat is a citrus fruit chiefly cultivated in China, Japan, and the United States. It’s a small orange-like fruit that can be eaten whole – skin and all – served in salads, used as garnish, cooked, pickled, or even candied for that matter (for a bunch of recipes click here). Aside from culinary applications, kumquat trees are popular as gifts and decoration in (South) China and Vietnam during the Lunar New Year as they symbolize prosperity. They are also used in the Japanese art form bonsai. In recent years, it has gained popularity in cocktails as well, leading to such creations as the Kumquat Martini and the Kozy Kumquat.
So, if you’ve never tasted this quirky fruit, be sure not to let ’em slide next to time you get a chance to try ’em – they’re delicious! And no, we’re by no means affiliated with the industry. However, we do have two example sentences using kumquat for you:
- The Kumquat Festival is an annual celebration in Dade City, Florida of the kumquat, a small tart citrus fruit usually eaten whole, with the skin on, and used in marmalades and desserts. (Wikipedia)
- While slowly floating down the river, the travelers feasted on the local produce, a basket full of fresh kumquats.
If you have more awesome recipes or you know of some other unusual fruit, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below!
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