“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Alligator Pear

By Eric Abrahamsen, published

I'd always assumed that one of the Chinese words for avocado – 鳄梨, or "alligator pear" – was something made up by Chinese wordsmiths who were coming into contact with the funny fruit for the first time. Now, after reading an article on the Washington Post about restaurant menus in the US from a hundred years ago, I learn that "alligator pear" was something made up by… US wordsmiths who were coming into contact with the funny fruit for the first time. Who knew!?

Now can someone tell me the origins of 牛油果?

Edit: And I spelled wrong...

Comments

# 1.   

穿越到西周后吃顿饭,他娘的差点饿死

先秦某店小二:里边请,请问客官是打尖还是住店

穿越的现代人:打尖来一碗西红柿鸡蛋面。

-那抱歉,客官,面条要到宋朝才能成形呢。而且西红柿是美洲货,清朝末年才传入中土。小店目前只有鸡蛋,要不您点一个

-什么鸟店连碗面都没有,馒头包子总有吧上一屉

  • 这位爷,也没有。馒头包子得等到蜀汉诸葛丞相伐孟获才有,抱歉了您呢。

-你们不会只供应白米饭吧

-抱歉,咱是在关中,水稻原产亚热带,得翻过秦岭才能种,咱也没有。

  • 要死了那就来个大侠套餐吧,二两女儿红,半斤熟牛肉……你捂我嘴干吗

  • 客官,小点声朝廷严禁私宰耕牛,被人告了可是充军流放的大罪,万万不敢啊

  • 得得得,酒我也不喝了,茶水总有吧

  • 那玩意儿到汉朝才有,哪怕到唐朝也是士大夫喝的,咱也不可能有。

-那就不吃饭了,上点水果吧。大热天的,来半个西瓜。

-呃,西瓜是非洲特产,要到南宋汉人才有种植……

  • 没有西瓜,苹果总有吧

-真抱歉,苹果十九世纪才从欧洲传入我国。

-客官,您别点水果了,我可以负责任地告诉您,像什么葡萄啦,芒果啦,石榴啦,草莓啦,菠萝啦……您现在都吃不到。

  • 你他娘的店里到底有什么

  • 粟米的窝窝饼,您蘸肉酱吃,我还可以给您上烫白菜。

.....

Susan, January 29, 2016, 4:11p.m.

# 2.   

To my ears, 牛油果 sounds Cantonese. Mind you, I only speak baby talk in this dialect, so I'm no expert!

But 牛油 does mean butter in Cantonese.

If you google butter fruit, you'll find several references to avocados. Here's Wikipedia's note (avocado):

In the United Kingdom, the term "avocado pear" is still used as applied when avocados first became commonly available in the 1960s.It is known as "butter fruit" in parts of India and goes by the name "bơ" [ɓʌː] in Vietnamese, which is the same word that is used for butter. In eastern China, it is known as è lí ("alligator pear") or huángyóu guǒ ("butter fruit"). In Taiwan, it is known as luò lí or "cheese pear".

 Bruce Humes, January 30, 2016, 8:06a.m.

# 3.   

I have lived in Hong Kong for two years and yes! 牛油 means butter. In a typical HongKong-style restaurant, there are 牛油方包 which is buttered toast and 牛油蛋挞 which means egg tart with buttered flavor and even 牛油蛋卷 which is butter-flavored crispy egg roll.

Vivian Wang, February 1, 2016, 1:04a.m.

# 4.   

Hey, that's cool! It's one of those mysteries that has bugged me very slightly for years. Thanks for clearing it up for me :)

 Eric Abrahamsen, February 2, 2016, 11:54p.m.

# 5.   

Alligator是鳄,不是鄂。鄂是湖北省的简称,此外并无实际意义,就象湘是湖南的简称,粤是广东的简称一样,此外并无实际意义。

Lao Zhang, February 5, 2016, 3:43a.m.

# 6.   

呃,谢谢指正打字打得太草率了。。。

 Eric Abrahamsen, February 5, 2016, 4:15a.m.

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