Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun The fruit of this plant, harvested when immature and eaten fresh or pickled.
  • noun Any of several related or similar plants, such as the bur cucumber or the squirting cucumber.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In California, the big-root or man root Micrampelis fabacea, and doubtless other species. Parsons and Buck, Wild Flowers of California.
  • noun A common running garden-plant, Cucumis sativus.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A common name of various plants of other genera.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) 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.
  • noun (Bot.) the Citrullus Colocynthis syn. Cucumis Colocynthis. See Colocynth.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The squash beetle.
  • noun An East Indian plant (Averrhoa Bilimbi) which produces the fruit known as bilimbi.
  • noun the prickly-fruited gherkin (Cucumis Anguria).
  • noun a species (Cucumis flexuosus) remarkable for its long, curiously-shaped fruit.
  • noun a plant (Ecbalium Elaterium) whose small oval fruit separates from the footstalk when ripe and expels its seeds and juice with considerable force through the opening thus made. See Elaterium.
  • noun a climbing weed (Sicyos angulatus) with prickly fruit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun cylindrical green fruit with thin green rind and white flesh eaten as a vegetable; related to melons
  • noun 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

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

    Archive 2008-07-01

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

    No Itadakimasu to Spam Sushi

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    A Veggie Venture

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

    A Veggie Venture

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

    A Veggie Venture

Comments

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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    August 19, 2008

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

    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

  • Yes! Shuttlecucumbers.

    August 19, 2008

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

    August 20, 2008

  • Forgive me. All better now.

    August 20, 2008

  • 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