- any of several cultivated varieties of a plant, Brassica oleracea capitata, of the mustard family, having a short stem and leaves formed into a compact, edible head.
- the head or leaves of this plant, eaten cooked or raw.
- Slang. money, especially paper money.
- Chiefly British Informal.
- a stupid, dull, or spiritless person.
- a mentally impaired person who is unable to live independently; vegetable.
- Chiefly British.
- cloth scraps that remain after a garment has been cut from a fabric and that by custom the tailor may claim.
- Also called cab.such scraps used for reprocessing.
verb (used with or without object), cab·baged, cab·bag·ing.
- to steal; pilfer: He cabbaged whole yards of cloth.
- Also called: cole any of various cultivated varieties of the plant Brassica oleracea capitata, typically having a short thick stalk and a large head of green or reddish edible leaves: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also brassica, savoy Compare skunk cabbage, Chinese cabbage
- wild cabbage a European plant, Brassica oleracea, with broad leaves and a long spike of yellow flowers: the plant from which the cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprout have been bred
- the head of a cabbage
- the edible leaf bud of the cabbage palm
- informal a dull or unimaginative person
- informal, offensive a person who has no mental faculties and is dependent on others for his or her subsistence
- snippets of cloth appropriated by a tailor from a customer’s material
- to steal; pilfer
mid-15c., caboge, from Middle French caboche “head” (in dialect, “cabbage”), from Old French caboce “head,” a diminutive from Latin caput “head” (see capitulum). Introduced to Canada 1541 by Jacques Cartier on his third voyage. First written record of it in U.S. is 1660s.
The decline of “ch” to “j” in the unaccented final syllable parallels the common pronunciation of spinach, sandwich, Greenwich, etc. The comparison of a head of cabbage to the head of a person (usually disparaging to the latter) is at least as old as Old French cabus “(head of) cabbage; nitwit, blockhead,” from Italian cappuccio, diminutive of capo.