This vegetable has many names...
I never understood the eggplant name until I saw one growing by the Mediterranean and when small it was white and oval and did look like an egg growing.
So I used to think - up to now - that they all started off white and turned purple, but this purple one starts off purple - I have another fruit growing and it is tiny but purple, so I think the one I saw growing is a white version of the vegetable. I have, every,now and again, seen white ones in Asian shops, but the common one here in UK is the purple one.
Ref the name - from the excellent worldwidewords.org
...for the most extraordinary example of shifting names we must go to the aubergine, once known also as the brinjal
in India. The story starts with Sanskrit vatin-gana
“the plant that cures the wind”, which became the Arabic al-badinjan. This moved into Europe, again via Moorish Spain: one offshoot — keeping the Arabic article prefixed — became alberengena
in Spanish and on to aubergine in French; another transformation became the botanical Latin melongena
through losing the article and changing the “b” to an “m”; this then turned into the Italian melanzana
and then to mela insana
(the “mad apple”). Another branch, again without the “al”, became bringella
in Portugal, whose traders took the plant, and their version of the name, full circle back to India, where it became brinjal
in Anglo-Indian circles (the usual term among English speakers in India today is the Hindi baingan
, or aubergine
). In another branch of its history, the Portuguese word turned up in the West Indies, where it was again, but differently, corrupted to brown-jolly
. All names for the same plant.my emphasis
which also documents artichoke, avocado and more