Wednesday, September 29, 2010

German: Knoblauchzehe; English: clove of garlic

The German word Knoblauchzehe is composed of the two nouns Knoblauch, meaning garlic, and Zehe, meaning toe. The noun Knoblauchzehe, however, refers to what in English is called a clove of garlic. Garlic toes are unheard of in English, aren't they?

The meaning of the English noun “clove” in German is context-dependent: The noun may refer to a part of a bulb (Nebenzwiebel), basically meaning the same as the word “clove” in the phrase “clove of garlic.” It also can mean Gewürznelke, literally translated as “spice carnation,” referring to the same spice as the English word in garlic-free context does—the spicy, rich red, dried, unopened bud of the clove tree (Syzgium aromaticum).

Summarizing overview (m. for masculine, f. for feminine):
  • Gewürznelke, f.: clove
  • Knoblauch, m.: garlic
  • Knoblauchzehe, f.: garlic clove
  • Zehe, f.: toe

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