Word for Wednesday: Mustard

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for August is condiments.

A condiment is added to food to enhance its flavour. The word has been used in English since the mid-fifteenth century and comes from the Latin ‘condire’ meaning ‘to pickle’.

As Saturday August 5th marks National Mustard Day – a celebration of all things mustard that started in Wisconsin in 1991 – we couldn’t resist choosing the spicy condiment for our first word of the week.

Mustard is a pungent yellow or brown paste made from ground mustard seeds. It has a strong hot taste and is often eaten with meat.

Though mustard was likely eaten by ancient civilisations, the word first appeared in English in the late-thirteenth century. It comes from the Old French ‘mostarde’ meaning ‘mustard plant’, from ‘moust’ meaning ‘must’, from the Latin ‘mustum’ meaning ‘new wine’. Early mustard pastes were made by adding must to ground mustard seeds. Today types of mustard include yellow mustard, brown mustard, Dijon mustard, honey mustard, and wholegrain mustard.

The word has been used in English to describe the mustard plant since the mid-fourteenth century and to describe the colour since 1848.

03 Aug 2022
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