July 05, 2015
basil (noun)
\BAZZ-il\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: any of several plants of the mint family; especially : sweet basil
How do you use it?
Among the dishes recommended by the nutritionist was Insalata Caprese, which he made using ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and just-picked basil leaves.
Are you a word wiz?

English has borrowed several tasty words from other languages. From which language do you think English took the word "basil"?

English speakers borrowed "basile" from Middle French sometime in the 1400s. "Basile" traces back to the Late Latin "basilicum," which originated in the Greek "basilikos," meaning "royal." What about the other ingredients in Insalata Caprese? "Tomato" was borrowed from Spanish early in the 1600s. The ultimate ancestor of "tomato" is "tomatl," from Nahuatl, an ancient family of languages spoken in southern Mexico and Central America. And we have Italian to thank for the word "mozzarella." English speakers borrowed "mozzarella" directly from Italian in the early 1900s.
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