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Where is the Beefeater?

In the [1980s] I was dealing with North/South [ie Northern Ireland] matters in the course of which I attended a lunch in the Department of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the visit of a UK delegation.

I was seated with a dear old lady from the UK Treasury. Much to my embarrassment she had to ask me to translate the menu, which was in Irish and French only. The first national language and the language of international diplomacy; OK; but really!

Anyway, the dessert was listed as "poire d'avocat" or, in Irish, "piorra dlíodóra", both meaning "lawyer's pear".

Something, I don't know what, struck me as false about this and I subsequently hunted up the origins of avocado pear in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

It appears the original Aztec term derives from "ahuacatl" meaning "testicle", which makes sense when you consider the look of the fruit. The Spanish conquistadores transliterated this into "avocado", their nearest phonetic equivalent; the French took it from the Spanish; and the Irish had now taken it from the French.

And Brian Friel wrote a play called Translations which explained it all.

Wiki on Avocado
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