You say banana…

A survey of the historical banana literature (which fills entire rooms at my local library) reveals quite a bit of disagreement over where the word “banana” comes from. Some say that it derives from the Arabic word for “finger”, which makes a good deal of sense. Others argue that it’s a Guinean word. I’m not qualified to pass judgement. However I’ll tell you the story that I like the best. The ancient Greek word for banana supposedly dates back to Alexander the Great’s Indian campaign. So the story goes, Alexander observed that the banana plant was sacred to sages there, who nibbled its fruit while they sat beneath its leaves philosophizing. Thus the Greek term for banana: “Wise Man’s Fruit.”

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