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A budding cauliflower plant.


From 16th century cole-florye, equivalent to cole (from Latin caulis) + flower, reformed to more closely match the Latin etymon. Cognate with French chou-fleur, Italian cavolfiore.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɒl.i.flaʊ.ə/, /ˈkɒl.ɪ.flaʊ.ə/
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  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɔl.ɪˌflaʊ.ɚ/, /ˈkɑl.ɪˌflaʊ.ɚ/
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cauliflower (countable and uncountable, plural cauliflowers)

  1. Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, an annual variety of cabbage, of which the cluster of young flower stalks and buds is eaten as a vegetable.
    • 1767, A Lady [Hannah Glasse], The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Eaſy [] [1], page 326:
      ASPARAGUS, cauliflowers, imperial Sileſia, royal and cabbage lettuces, burnet, purſlain, cucumbers, naſturtian flowers, peaſe and beans ſown in October, artichokes, ſcarlet ſtrawberries, and kidney beans.
  2. The edible head or curd of a cauliflower plant.
  3. The swelling of a cauliflower ear.
    • 2018, John Harding, The Whitechapel Whirlwind: The Jack Kid Berg Story:
      His ears were small (fortunately so, given his dramatic hairstyle) and bore no traditional cauliflowers.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Japanese: カリフラワー (karifurawā)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


cauliflower (third-person singular simple present cauliflowers, present participle cauliflowering, simple past and past participle cauliflowered)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To (cause to) swell up like a cauliflower ear.
    • 1947, Elliott Chaze, The Stainless Steel Kimono, page 49:
      I noticed his right ear was badly cauliflowered and that explained a number of things. It wasn't a new job of cauliflowering.
    • 1960, Transactions of the British Ceramic Society, page 281:
      Returning to your first point, the cauliflowering of magnesite bricks — we presume that this is due to your using high concentrations of oxygen for blowing the furnace, giving high checker-temperatures.
    • 1974, Alexander G. Weygers, The Modern Blacksmith, page 39:
      The soft steel of the back edge by now has cauliflowered over from hammering on it.