any plant of the genus Asparagus, of the lily family, especially A. officianalis, cultivated for its edible shoots.
the shoots, eaten as a vegetable.
Contemporary Examples

Cheese biscuits, asparagus spears with garlic and saffron mayonnaise, and mixed salted, roasted nuts.
We Are Off to the Races!! Lydia Brownlow June 6, 2011

My Dad was a mad keen gardener, so we would always have all those local, seasonal, organic things; asparagus and artichokes.
Tom Parker Bowles on Camilla’s Roast Chicken, His Cocaine Sting and Those Pictures of Kate Tom Sykes October 2, 2012

asparagus is one of those ingredients that I need to eat once it’s around, and eggs are my all-time favorite food.
Fresh Picks Jamie Bissonnette August 23, 2011

As Mario Batali says, “asparagus trumpets the arrival of spring.”
What to Eat: Easter March 29, 2010

Serve either dish with asparagus or a green salad tossed with plenty of Roquefort or blue cheese.
An American Prairie Feast Sophie Menin July 16, 2010

Historical Examples

Or with vermicelli, rice, or barley; or with green peas, or asparagus tops.
Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches Eliza Leslie

The Englishman helped himself to asparagus tips and laughed.
The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine

Jumbo gave a loud quack of laughter like a wild goose, and entangled himself with asparagus.
Dodo Wonders E. F. Benson

The children grew like asparagus in June, and the father rejoiced over them.
The Home Fredrika Bremer

His mother said that the onions and asparagus were not as good as when they had been freshly cooked more than two hours ago.
Jerry’s Charge Account Hazel Hutchins Wilson

any Eurasian liliaceous plant of the genus Asparagus, esp the widely cultivated A. officinalis, having small scaly or needle-like leaves
the succulent young shoots of A. officinalis, which may be cooked and eaten
asparagus fern, a fernlike species of asparagus, A. plumosus, native to southern Africa

late Old English sparage, from Latin asparagus (in Medieval Latin often sparagus), from Greek asparagos, of uncertain origin; probably from PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g- “to spring up” (though perhaps from a non-Greek source). In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded as a plural, with false singular aspergy.

By 16c. the word had been anglicized as far as sperach, sperage. It was respelled by c.1600 to conform with classical Latin, but then folk-etymologized formation sparrowgrass arose 17c., persisting into 19c., during which time asparagus had “an air of stiffness and pedantry” [John Walker, “Critical Pronouncing Dictionary,” 1791]. Known in Old English as eorðnafela.


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