\ \ [17] Anyone tucking into an avocado could well be taken aback to learn that in the South American Indian language from which the word originally came, it meant literally ‘testicle’. The Nahuatl Indians named the fruit ahuacatltesticle’ on account of its shape. The Spanish conquistadors took the word over as aguacate, but before long this became altered by folk etymology (the substitution of familiar for unfamiliar forms) to avocado (literally ‘advocate’ in Spanish). When English borrowed the word, folk etymology took a hand yet again, for in the late 17th century it became known as the alligator pear, a name which survived into the 20th century.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • avocado — (n.) 1763, from Sp. avocado, altered (by folk etymology influence of earlier Sp. avocado lawyer, from same Latin source as ADVOCATE (Cf. advocate) (n.)) from earlier aguacate, from Nahuatl ahuakatl avocado, testicle. So called for its shape. As a …   Etymology dictionary

  • avocado — ☆ avocado [av΄ə kä′dō, ä΄vəkä′dō ] n. pl. avocados [altered (infl. by earlier Sp avocado, now abogado, advocate) < MexSp aguacate < Nahuatl a:wakaλ, avocado, lit., testicle; so named from its shape] 1. a widespread, thick skinned, pear… …   English World dictionary

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  • avocado — avocado. (Quizá del caribe aohuicate o avoka). m. Filip. aguacate (ǁ árbol). || 2. Filip. aguacate (ǁ fruto) …   Enciclopedia Universal

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