cavolo nero

ca·​vo·​lo ne·​ro | \ ˈkä-və-(ˌ)lō-ˈner-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce cavolo nero (audio) \
variants: or less commonly cavalo nero

Definition of cavolo nero

: tuscan kale Chefs and savvy travelers have long revered the bumpy, palm-shaped leaves for their deep flavor and color. Now, cavolo nero, a winter vegetable in Tuscany, is grown here year-round.Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 1998 Cultivated in Tuscany starting in the 18th century (and perhaps even earlier), cavolo nero is prized for its bountiful growth through the lean winter months.— Indrani Sen, Saveur, November 2007

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First Known Use of cavolo nero

1777, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cavolo nero

borrowed from Italian, literally, “black cabbage”. Though Italian cavolo is conventionally translated “cabbage,” the word, with a dependent modifier, actually covers most edible varieties of Brassica oleracea. Cavolo, going back to Late Latin caulus (Latin caulis “stalk of a plant, cabbage”) is apparently dependent on southern dialect forms with preservation of the diphthong and an interposed consonant; the regular central Italian development is represented by Umbrian dialect còlo (see Gerhard Rolhlfs, Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti: Fonetica [Turin: Einaudi, 1966], p. 64)

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The first known use of cavolo nero was in 1777

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Cite this Entry

“Cavolo nero.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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