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Finocchio = occhio fino? (Re: Could f17r be fennel?)

21/01/02 01:09:57, Rene Zandbergen <r_zandbergen@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>The real question is: did anyone ever think
>p.17r could be fennel _before_ ?

>I'm sure if you want it to be fennel, similarities
>could be found...

Since I am utterly botanically unwashed, I can
hardly comment -- my favourite self-deprecatory
quip is that I can't tell the difference between
a geranium and a begonia. 

However... the etymology of finocchio (occhio fino)
seemed to me a folk etymology, all the more so that
the similarity between French fenouil and Italian
finocchio is obvious. I checked in an etymological
dictionary. Finocchio, and fenouil, are from Popular
Latin fenuculum (Classical Latin feniculum), which
to me looks like a straight diminutive of fenum "hay".
If I were in a flippant mood, let me be, I'd point
out that "haylet" if it existed in English, would
likely mean "little hay" and note how close it sounds
to "eyelet"!. Seriously now, the belief in fennel
being good for the eyes must have derived from the
name, finocchio, not the other way around. Sure, the
"eyes" in the roots of the drawing might be a
result of that folk etymology. And again they might
not. And what about the tiny little dragon frolicking
between the roots of another plant on I forgot which

"Finocchio" BTW, also means "pederast" in Italian.