1

cabbage

noun, often attributive cab·bage \ ˈka-bij \

Definition of cabbage

1 a : any of several brassicas (Brassica oleracea) of European origin; especially : a leafy garden plant (Brassica oleracea capitata) with a short stem and a dense globular head of usually green leaves that is used as a vegetable
b : any of several plants related to or resembling cabbage
2 slang : money, cash

cabbagey

or less commonly cabbagy play \ˈka-bə-jē\ adjective

cabbage was our Word of the Day on 11/29/2016. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of cabbage

Middle English caboche, from Medieval French dialect (Norman & Picard), literally, head, noggin


2

cabbage

noun

Definition of cabbage

: pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites

Origin and Etymology of cabbage

perhaps by folk etymology from Medieval French cabas cheating, theft


3

cabbage

verb

Definition of cabbage

cabbaged; cabbaging
transitive verb
: steal, filch
  • They also cabbaged our bats, balls, and gloves.
  • —H. L. Mencken

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."

First Known Use of cabbage

1691


CABBAGE Defined for Kids

cabbage

noun cab·bage \ ˈka-bij \

Definition of cabbage for Students

: a garden plant related to the turnips that has a round firm head of leaves used as a vegetable


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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

sticky or viscid

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!