Why does 'cabbage' refer to sweetheart in slang?

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Daffodil100

Senior Member
Chinese
There are all kind of vegetable. Why do native speakers use cabbage to refer to sweetheart in slang instead of carrots, spuds, etc.?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cabbage

Is it because 'cabbage' is the favorite vegetable of native speakers if there's a key for it?:confused:

Thanks!
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I have never heard cabbage -- or its diminutive companion Brussels sprout -- used as a term of affection.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Give it time, Copyright. Your chance to hear this may still be coming. :) Be sure to let me know the instant that chance arrives: I can always use a good laugh!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it's a translation from the French idiom using the vegetable with the same meaning:
    b. As a term of endearment: my cabbage [tr. F. mon chou], my dear, darling.

    Maybe if you ask in the French forum they can explain why the association was made.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I have never heard cabbage -- or its diminutive companion Brussels sprout -- used as a term of affection.
    I have never personally heard cabbage used as a term of endearment, but I have certainly read my cabbage and heard it used in TV and film.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, my cabbage (under the entry "cabbage, n.1") originated as a translation of the French mon chou.
     

    Daffodil100

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you very much, everyone.

    I was going over my notebook of English and came across this again. I remember I learnt it from the Simpsons - American TV cartoon. :D
     

    szybcia

    New Member
    Polish
    I was wondering about it myself (well, I was laughing at it), until my Belgian boyfriend explained me, chou comes not from a cabbage, but from the name of a sweet dessert, Chou à la crème :)

    Check out the name + wiki (I can't post links), you'll see what it is. Very tasty :)
    Short for must've leaked to English as a cabbage :)

    That changes a lot ;)

    There are all kind of vegetable. Why do native speakers use cabbage to refer to sweetheart in slang instead of carrots, spuds, etc.?

    Is it because 'cabbage' is the favorite vegetable of native speakers if there's a key for it?:confused:

    Thanks!
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    I was wondering about it myself (well, I was laughing at it), until my Belgian boyfriend explained me, chou comes not from a cabbage, but from the name of a sweet dessert, Chou à la crème :)
    Thanks for this explanation. I had always wondered, somewhere in the back of my head; "Why cabbage?". Cream puff or profiterole makes so much more sense as a term of endearment.

    Welcome to the forum (I came here by the same route---reading through old posts and suddenly realizing that I had some useful information to share). I've added your link for you. Only a few more posts, and you'll be able to post your own.
     
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