Aubergines were originally called “vatinganah” in Sanskrit, which means literally ‘fart, go away.’

Original Photo by Irene Kightley  CC by SA 2.0

(From Sanskrit, the word and the fruit travelled, morphed into Persian as badingan, then into Arabic as al-badhinjan.  The Spanish borrowed the term thinking that the Arabic definite article “al” was part of the word, so it went into the Catalan language as alberginia, where the French later picked it up as aubergine, and the English borrowed the word in the late 1700s.

1794, from Fr. aubergine, “fruit of the eggplant” (Solanum esculentum), dim. of auberge “a kind of peach,” variant of alberge, from Sp. alberchigo “apricot” [OED]. Klein derives the French word from Catalan alberginera, from Arabic al-badinjan”the eggplant,” from Pers. badin-gan, from Skt. vatin-ganah.

So aubergine really means “fart go away”.

Americans know it as an eggplant, which IMHO isn’t half as much fun.)