cabbage was our Word of the Day on 11/29/2016. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
cabbage, Not the Vegetable
Does the "filching" meaning of cabbage bring to mind an image of thieves sneaking out of farm fields with armloads of pilfered produce? If so, you're in for a surprise. Today's featured word has nothing to do with the leafy vegetable. It originally referred to the practice among tailors of pocketing part of the cloth given to them to make garments. The verb was cut from the same cloth as an older British noun cabbage, which meant "pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites." Both of those ethically questionable cabbages probably derived from cabas, the Middle French word for "cheating or theft." The cabbage found in coleslaw, on the other hand, comes from Middle English caboche, which meant "head."
CABBAGE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cabbage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).