August 18, 2013
crudités (noun)
\kroo-dih-TAY\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: pieces of raw vegetables (as celery or carrot sticks) served as an hors d'oeuvre often with a dip
How do you use it?
Whenever we have guests for dinner, Mother likes to serve crudités before the main meal.
Are you a word wiz?

"Crudités" has been part of the English language for only about 50 years. From which of the following languages do you think English-speakers borrowed it?

Answer B is the one that whets our appetite. "Crudités" comes from the plural of the French word "crudité," meaning "rawness." "Crudité" traces back to the Latin word "cruditas," meaning "indigestion"—not a very appropriate ancestor for a tasty treat! Latin "cruditas" derives from "crudus," meaning "raw." This Latin word is the source of several other English words including "crude" and "cruel," and is akin to the word "raw" itself. Another word that English borrowed from French was used in the definition of "crudités." "Hors d'oeuvre" is defined as "any of various tasty foods usually served as appetizers," and it comes from a French phrase meaning "something extra."
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