garbage to garbanzo

Today is garbage day in this part of Austin, and as I dutifully carried out my bit of trash a while ago I wondered if garbage might have any connection to a Spanish word. No, other than the suffix, it doesn’t seem to. So I turned to the next word in my English dictionary, garbanzo. The question “Does garbanzo have a connection to Spanish” is a strange one, because garbanzo is a Spanish word; English has taken to using it alongside the earlier and still current chickpea.

What is now garbanzo was arvanço in Old Spanish, and the g- that got added at the beginning of the word seems due to influence from Spanish garroba, a word of Arabic origin that means ‘carob.’ Both plants are in the legume family and produce beans, but I wouldn’t try interchanging them in any recipes.

© 2010 Steven Schwartzman

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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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