Garlic (Old English gārlēac) is a native Germanic word being composed of two elements: The first element gar means “spear” and refers to the pointed leaves. The second element -lic (appearing in full form in the word leek) has plenty of cognates in other Germanic languages which generally mean either leek or onion. In Eastern languages, cognates of leek have throughout adopted the meaning “onion”, and the name of garlic is, then, formed, by prefixing an adjective “white”. European example is Croatian bijeli luk and its Serbian counterpart beli luk [бели лук] “white leek”.
The German name of garlic Knoblauch stems from the verb klieb-, meaning “split” , (English cleave);
Independently, Slavonic names for garlic like Czech česnek, Slovenian česen, Polish czosnek, Ukrainian chasnyk [часник] and Russian chesnok [чеснок] have a semantic connection to splitting and partitioning: Czech část, Polish część and Russian chast [часть] “part”.
Most contemporary Romanic languages have names for garlic that derive from allium, e.g. Italian aglio, French ail, Spanish ajo and Portuguese alho, stemming form classical Latin allium, which is still the botanical genus name for garlic and related plants (leek, shallot, onion, bear's garlic and chives. The botanical species name satvius means “cultivated”.
Garlic is only found in cultivation, but researchers consider Central Asia to be its place of origin which is also home to Allium longicuspis. Some believe this plant to be a wild ancestor while others believe it to be the same species. It was probably used in Central Asia since Neolithic times as a food flavouring and seasoning. Although many of the about 700 species of genus Allium are native to Central Asia, the diversity of the forms spread from the Himalayas to Turkestan. It is believed that the ancient Chinese were the first to cultivate it. Garlic spread across the world more than 5000 years ago; before recorded history. The Egyptians worshipped... [continues]
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(2008, 12). Garlic in Serbian Cuisine, Tradition and Mythology. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Garlic-Serbian-Cuisine-Tradition-Mythology-188004.html
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