What has sweetbread or breadfruit got to do with bread?

@allknowing (71045)
India
April 18, 2016 6:10am CST
There is never an end to the confused situations one encounters when understanding the English language. I am sure there is no logic to so much of what we come across in our day to day interaction involving this language. I am happy though and surprised at my fluency despite all the puzzles that face me everyday. I am sure there will be others too sharing my platform. But if you think that you are an exception and understand perfectly what lies before you when it comes to the English language I would be happy to know what logic is involved in coining up certain words. I give you just two examples 1. Sweetbread. I hope you know what sweetbread means but I really do not know what is so sweet or where does the bread come from. 2. Breadfruit - Here again Breadfruit is not a fruit but a vegetable. It does not taste like bread. I want to know why it is called breadfruit. I can think of so many others like 'cocktail' - that's for some other time.
5 people like this
6 responses
@jaboUK (55194)
• United Kingdom
18 Apr 16
Who can fathom the vagaries of the English language? Even we native English speakers are flummoxed at times.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
Did they have to be so complicated? (lol)
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (55194)
• United Kingdom
18 Apr 16
@allknowing To non-English speakers it's tough To find out that stuff rhymes with rough, Though not with plough Or through or with bough, Who could blame them for saying 'enough'?
1 person likes this
@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
@jaboUK You can say that about English speakers too
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@LadyDuck (183435)
• Switzerland
18 Apr 16
I know that the breadfruit has this name because, when cooked, the taste of moderately is similar to freshly baked bread. I have searched the etymology of the name sweetbread, this is what I found in Wikipedia: QUOTE "The word "sweetbread" is first attested in the 16th century, but the etymology of the name is unclear.[6] "Sweet" is perhaps used since the thymus is sweet and rich-tasting, as opposed to savory-tasting muscle flesh.[7] "Bread" may come from brede, "roasted meat"[8] or from the Old English br?d ("flesh" or "meat")."
1 person likes this
@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
Breadfruit grows profusely in these areas and they hardly taste like bread. As for sweetbread the explanation hardly justifies the name.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (183435)
• Switzerland
18 Apr 16
@allknowing That is what I found, I know that Wikipedia is not always correct.
1 person likes this
@Hate2Iron (8034)
• Canada
18 Apr 16
I am pretty sure that I have tried breadfruit before... and was surprised at the lack of flavor... so maybe that has something to do with it.. I was expecting something slightly sweet... nothing!
1 person likes this
@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
This vegetable grows abundantly here and it neither tastes like bread nor is it sweet (lol)
@DianneN (88488)
• United States
18 Apr 16
They say the English language is one of the most difficult to learn.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
There is nothing to learn I feel. Just mug (lol)
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@owlwings (39887)
• Cambridge, England
18 Apr 16
Sweetbread refers to the thymus and the pancreas glands (and occasionally other glands) which are prepared as food. The thymus, in particular, is sweeter than other (muscle) meat and it may either be termed 'bread' from its texture or from either of two Old English words which mean 'meat'. In fact, both the words 'bread' and 'meat' were used in the past to refer to any kind of food. Breadfruit apparently got its name from the appearance and taste of the fruit when only just ripe, when it is very starchy and dry. The riper it becomes, the less like bread and the more like fruit it becomes. As for "cocktails", I think that the best explanation is that it's a corruption of a French word for "eggcup" but there are others:
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@allknowing (71045)
• India
18 Apr 16
Thanks for all this. It is still not clear why they are called sweetbread and breadfruit
@Asylum (48223)
• Manchester, England
18 Apr 16
I must confess that the origin of breadfruit has always been a mystery to me as well. To be fair this scenario must exist in all languages because we often have no knowledge of the origin of words.
1 person likes this