Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tendril-bearing, climbing or sprawling annual plant (Cucumis sativus) widely cultivated for its edible cylindrical fruit that has a green rind and crisp white flesh.
  • n. The fruit of this plant, eaten fresh or pickled.
  • n. Any of several related or similar plants, such as the bur cucumber or the squirting cucumber.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vine in the gourd family, Cucumis sativus.
  • n. The edible fruit of this plant, having a green rind and crisp white flesh.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A creeping plant, and its fruit, of several species of the genus Cucumis, esp. Cucumis sativus, the unripe fruit of which is eaten either fresh or picked. Also, similar plants or fruits of several other genera. See below.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A common running garden-plant, Cucumis sativus.
  • n. The long, fleshy fruit of this plant, eaten as a cooling salad when green, and also used for pickling. (See gherkin). The stem-end is usually very bitter, as is the whole fruit in some uncultivated varieties.
  • n. A common name of various plants of other genera.
  • n. In California, the big-root or man root Micrampelis fabacea, and doubtless other species. Parsons and Buck, Wild Flowers of California.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. cylindrical green fruit with thin green rind and white flesh eaten as a vegetable; related to melons
  • n. a melon vine of the genus Cucumis; cultivated from earliest times for its cylindrical green fruit

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English cucomer, from Old French coucombre, from Latin cucumis, cucumer-.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin cucumis, whose ablative singular is cucumere. Probably of Pre-Italic origin.

Examples

  • In another, a man was cautioned for being “found in possession of an egg with intent to throw”, and in a third a child was arrested for throwing a slice of cucumber from a tuna sandwich at another youngster.

    Knife Crime « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • They would have tasted better had I omitted the Spam and just rolled plain cucumber in them.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Apparently sometimes the flesh of cucumber is just bitter -- some people can taste it and some people can't.

    Blek and learn.

  • Melón: cantaloupe (Cucumis melo) Another European import, this member of the cucurbitae family, which includes squash and cucumber, is an important commercial fruit crop in Mexico, where it is used in fruit salads, aguas and licuados.

    Exotic summer refreshment: a guide to Mexico's tropical fruit

  • If the cucumber is thick at one end, consider cutting just the end in halves or even quarters before slicing thin.

    A Veggie Venture

  • Also, the cucumber is not processed in the Cuisinart but chopped small, by hand, to keep it crunchy and to add a little green to an otherwise white-as-milk dip.

    Seattle Bon Vivant:

  • Mr. Gómez added that overall claims dropped despite an unexpected jump in the agricultural sector, with 4,125 new claims, likely because of the so-called cucumber crisis of late May and early June.

    Summer Boosts Spanish Employment

  • While I am comfortable eating something that may also occur in a natural cleaning product (think vinegar and lemon, or even cucumber, which is often used in skin care products), I don't feel comfortable eating something that is normally used in the production of cheap furniture.

    Zem Joaquin: Melamine is Mean Stuff

  • A cucumber is a plant that requires much water, particularly when bearing fruit: it will be necessary then to give from one to two gallons each time according to the heat of the bed, and temperature of the weather.

    The art of promoting the growth of the cucumber and melon in a series of directions for the best means to be adopted in bringing them to a complete state of perfection

  • "What is the matter with your Aunt Almira this morning?" asked Uncle Ike of the red-headed boy, as he came out into the garden with a sling-shot, and began to shoot birdshot at the little cucumbers that were beginning to grow away from the pickle vine, as the boy called the cucumber tree.

    Peck's Uncle Ike and The Red Headed Boy 1899

Comments

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  • A pertinent cartoon opinion

    March 28, 2014

  • Surely these are what get served in a game of squash.

    December 22, 2011

  • Fom the definitions: "In California, the big-root or man root Micrampelis fabacea"

    September 16, 2011

  • Johnson's always popping up where you least expect him.

    September 16, 2011

  • Oh! Hello Samuel Johnson--I'd forgotten you were on this page!

    September 16, 2011

  • I think my great grandmother's uncle had long, leathery ears... not sure whether that side of the family is marsupial, though.

    January 21, 2010

  • Hey, my relatives make the same dismal salad! Do you think we could be related?

    January 21, 2010

  • Well, sure, raita and tzatziki both have cucumber and I've seen both described on restaurant menus as salads. I guess I'm thinking of the sort of salad my relatives make--iceberg lettuce, mushy tomato, sad cucumbers, and ranch dressing. No mustard, though--it's well past 12th Night.

    January 21, 2010

  • Once an umbrage taker ruzuzu...try grated cucumber in unflavored yogurt with cumin, mint, and lemon juice, za - Good recipe you can modify to your taste.

    Why do I picture you as as the Wordnik Mustard Girl? Yellow tights, perhaps?

    January 21, 2010

  • I take umbrage at bilby's assertion that I am a rampant cucumbrage taker. I'm just less fond of cucumbers in salads than I am of them as pickles (their highest and best use).

    January 21, 2010

  • I seached in vain through my trays of pigments and paints for a tube of cucumber. Raw? Check. Burnt? Check.

    January 21, 2010

  • We are the world,

    We are cucumbers....

    January 21, 2010

  • I take cucumbrage at their usage.

    January 21, 2010

  • Reading the signs around the produce section of the supermarket today. First bin:

    "CUCUMBERS.

    Great for salads."

    Next bin.

    "LEBANESE CUCUMBERS.

    Great for salads."

    Next bin.

    "CONTINENTAL CUCUMBERS.

    Great for salads."

    January 21, 2010

  • Forgive me. All better now.

    August 20, 2008

  • RT, you know the rules. Kindly bracket that.

    August 20, 2008

  • Yes! Shuttlecucumbers.

    August 19, 2008

  • So now I've got this picture in my head of men tossing cucumbers in the air and hitting them to each other with tennis rackets.

    August 19, 2008

  • And don't forget that great English novel, Peregrine Pickle, by Tobias Smollett (1751).

    August 19, 2008

  • Oh, and I wasn't reading Boswell, I was eating a cucumber.

    August 19, 2008

  • I suppose we should quote the full verse from The Beggar's Opera. Mrs Peachum is 'in a very great passion' about Polly's sudden marriage:

    Our Polly is a sad slut! nor heeds what we have taught her,

    I wonder any man alive will ever rear a daughter,

    For she must have both hoods and gowns, and hoops to swell her pride,

    With scarfs and stays, and gloves and lace, and she'll have men beside;

    And when she's drest with care and cost, all-tempting, fine and gay,

    As men should serve a cucumber, she flings herself away.

    So yes, 'serve' = "treat, deal with", and it fits what Dr Johnson said.

    August 19, 2008

  • An interesting citation, qroqqa. If I understand it correctly, in the line "as men should serve a cucumber", "serve" means "fling away" not "place on the table for someone to eat".

    Are you enjoying reading Boswell?

    August 19, 2008

  • On the beach here there is a singular variety of curious stones. I picked up one very like a small cucumber. By the by, Dr. Johnson told me, that Gay's line in the "Beggar's Opera," "As men should serve a cucumber," &c. has no waggish meaning, with reference to men flinging away cucumbers as too cooling, which some have thought; for it has been a common saying of physicians in England, that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.

    —Boswell, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D., 5 October 1773, on the island of Coll

    August 19, 2008