Definitions

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

  • n. A Mediterranean thistlelike plant (Cynara scolymus) in the composite family, having pinnately divided leaves and large discoid heads of bluish flowers.
  • n. The edible, immature flower head of this plant. Also called globe artichoke.
  • n. The Jerusalem artichoke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An plant related to the thistle with enlarged flower heads eaten as a vegetable while immature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The Cynara scolymus, a plant somewhat resembling a thistle, with a dilated, imbricated, and prickly involucre. The head (to which the name is also applied) is composed of numerous oval scales, inclosing the florets, sitting on a broad receptacle, which, with the fleshy base of the scales, is much esteemed as an article of food.
  • n. See Jerusalem artichoke.

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

  • n. Mediterranean thistlelike plant widely cultivated for its large edible flower head
  • n. a thistlelike flower head with edible fleshy leaves and heart

Etymologies

Ultimately from Old Spanish alcarchofa, from Arabic al-ḫaršuf : al-, the + ḫuršūf, ḫaršuf, artichoke.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From northern Italian dialectal articiocco, alteration of arcicioffo (possibly influenced by ciocco ("stump"), from Old Spanish alcarchofa, from Arabic القرشوف (al-qaršūf, "artichoke"). (Wiktionary)

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