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A weirdly funny fact about avocados – did you know they are named after human body parts?

Posted November 18, 2019

Avocados are usually described as superfood. They are rich in vitamins B, K, C, E and potassium. They are also very fat, but that fat can be good for you. Many people enjoy eating avocados and avocado-based products every week, but have you ever thought what does the word “avocado” mean? It actually means “testicle”.

Do these berries look like testicles to you? Image credit: B.navez via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

That is quite some news, right? Well, not really. You see, a third of world’s avocados come from Mexico. In fact, they are native there. The rest come from US, Mediterranean countries and some other warm climate places. Avocados are actually big berries with large seeds inside of them. They are rather difficult to maintain and grow, they need a lot of attention and water. Furthermore, they are usually hand-picked, which further increases their prices. Regardless, let’s go back to those testicles.

The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish “aguacate”, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl (known historically as Aztec) word “āhuacatl”. If we traced it even further down the history lane, we would find a proto-Aztecan word, which translates to “testicle”. And that is how avocados were known to Aztecs and many other bigger and smaller native groups in South America. Why? Because of its resemblance to a body part.

To be completely accurate, avocado does not look like a testicle – it looks like scrotum. It has this wrinkly pattern on its skin, which, if you are looking for it, does look a bit like anatomy of a male human. But why does that matter?

It doesn’t. However, it is a good example of how differently people were looking at the human body. While for us it was something very private and not to be talked about, Aztecs were namin their fruit after human reproductive parts. For them it was just a casual part of life, not better or worse than a hand or an ear. Not something that has to be kept in extreme privacy or no one can even talk about.

Ah, the good old “testicle sauce” for your nachos. Image credit: Nikodem Nijaki via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

But let’s get back to the marvelous avocado. Did you know that a lot of avocados (probably more than a half) become guacamole? As you may imagine, the word “guacamole” also has its roots. It comes from Nahuatl “āhuacamolli”, which literally translates to “avocado sauce”. Or, alternatively, since the words are the same, “testicle sauce”. Again – that is just a fun fact, but also a nice example of how different languages can be when cultures are so widely different.

By the way, since they are rich in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat avocados are quite an aphrodisiac. They won’t improve your desires and libido, but because they are great for hear and the arteries, they help keeping the blood flowing to all of the right spots.

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