One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The fruit of the eggplant or aubergine, Solanum melongena; the plant itself. Occasionally also (formerly also in plural): any of certain other plants of the genus Solanum, especially S. linnaeanum. Now archaic.
2The thorn apple, Datura stramonium.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Henry Lyte (1529–1607), botanist and antiquary. From mad + apple, after post-classical Latin malum insanum from Italian † mela insana variant, after mela apple and insano, of melanzana, † melenzana, ultimately from Persian bādingān.
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