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A bowl of radishes (Raphanus sativus or Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus (sense 2). Such radishes have a pungent taste and are usually eaten raw in salads, etc.
The daikon, a cultivar or subspecies of radish. It has a mild taste and is generally cooked before eating.

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English radiche, from Old English rǣdiċ, from Proto-West Germanic *rādik, borrowed from Latin rādīcem (root of a plant; radish); later influenced by Anglo-Norman radich and Middle French radice, borrowed from Italian radice, from the same Latin source.



radish (countable and uncountable, plural radishes)

  1. A plant of the Brassicaceae family, Raphanus sativus or Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus, having an edible root.
    • 1659 (indicated as 1660), Robert Sharrock, “Of Propagation by Seed”, in The History of the Propagation & Improvement of Vegetables by the Concurrence of Art and Nature: [...], Oxford: Printed by A. Lichfield, printer to the University, for Tho[mas] Robinson, →OCLC, pages 14–15:
      Many times they ſow divers ſeeds in a Bed together, as Radiſhes and Carrots, that by ſuch time as the Carrots come up, the Radiſhes may be gone. Upon beds newly ſet with Licorice they ſow Onions or Radiſh, or Lettice if their Licorice plants or ground be but weak, ſo as not quickly to cauſe a ſhadow with their leaves.
    • 1866 June 1, J. R. Jackson, “The New Vegetable (Raphanus caudatus.)”, in Nature and Art, volume I, number I, London: Day & Son, Limited. 6 Gate Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, (W.C.), →OCLC, page 8:
      The newly-introduced radish, which has attracted the attention of horticulturists so much of late, is certainly a novelty, inasmuch as the edible portion of the plant is the seed-vessel, and not the root. The common radish, in its numerous varieties, in such an exceedingly popular salad-plant, that we are scarcely prepared to look to this genus for new economic products or floral novelties. When we consider the many varieties of radish known to this country, from the long and tapering red-root to the white turnip-radish, we might, in some measure, be prepared for a wider development of nature's laws in tropical countries.
    • 1940, Rosetta E. Clarkson, Green Enchantments: The Magic Spell of Gardens, The Macmillan Company, page 257:
      Although hardly coming under my theme, I cannot omit this: "Against a woman's chatter: Taste at night fasting a root of radish, that day the chatter cannot harm thee."
  2. The root of this plant used as food. Some varieties are pungent and usually eaten raw in salads, etc., while others have a milder taste and are cooked.
    • 1791, Mary Cole, “[The Family Physician; or, The Country Lady’s Benevolent Employment.] General instructions, which will, if followed, infallibly prolong life.”, in [] The Lady’s Complete Guide; or, Cookery in All Its Branches. [], 3rd edition, London: [] G[eorge] Kearsley, [], →OCLC, page 418:
      Fat people ſhould not eat freely of oily, nouriſhing diet. They ought frequently to eat radiſh, garlic, ſpices, or ſuch things as are heating, and promote perſpiration and urine.
    • 1993, Linda Gassenheimer, “Veal Dinners”, in Dinner in Minutes: Memorable Meals for Busy Cooks, New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Company, →ISBN, page 290:
      The flavors of radicchio and radish are delicious with only a touch of balsamic vinegar for a dressing.
    • 2015, Mo Yan [pseudonym; Guan Moye], translated by Howard Goldblatt, Radish (Penguin Specials), Melbourne, Vic.: Penguin Books Australia, →ISBN:
      Purple shoots had grown up from the wheat seeds sown in the furrows. He fell to his knees and dug up a radish. There was a sound like a bubble popping as the thin roots parted from the earth.
  3. With a distinguishing word: some other plant of the Raphanus genus or Brassicaceae family.
    • 1863, Margaret Plues, “Cruciferæ”, in Rambles in Search of Wild Flowers, and How to Distinguish Them, London: Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener Office, 162, Fleet Street, E.C., →OCLC, page 39:
      The Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum), is Edward's trophy, brought from a piece of waste ground near Hawkhurst, in Kent. The petals are white or pale lilac, veined distinctly with a deeper shade. The Sea Radish (R. maritimus, []), is primrose-coloured, also veined. Fanny brought it from the beautiful cliffs near Lizard Point.
    • 2015 August, Peter Burke, “Seeds”, in Year-round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-dense Soil-sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 Days, White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Publishing, →ISBN, page 56:
      Radishes were something new for me. The first time I tried growing for seed, I was surprised by the shape of the pods; they looked like hot peppers. Being the curious type I nibbled on a few pods and found they were delicious when still in the immature stage. I thought I had discovered something novel when, lo and behold, I found out that radishes grown in India just for their pods—a variety called Rat-Tail radish—for many years.

Derived terms[edit]


  • ? Malay: rades
  • Maori: rātihi


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meredith, L. P. (1872), “Radish”, in Every-Day Errors of Speech, Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott & Co., page 38.

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of radiche