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Re: Weekly Vocab 6: to know

From:Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>
Date:Thursday, May 8, 2003, 10:05
At 19:12 08/05/2003 +1000, you wrote:
>Andreas Johansson wrote: > >>Incidentally, what is the difference 'tween "mushroom" and "fungus"? >> >Mushrooms pass as food. I'm not sure how, but when you don't eat >mushrooms or olives, it severely limits the variety of pizzas you can >have. I call mushrooms fungi (the plural of fungus, normally pronounced >in these parts as /faNgai/) to reflect how much I love them. > >Fungi includes toadstools, mushrooms, at least one kind of foot disease >and others besides. > >Toadstools, which I'm guessing is the next question, are >mushroom-looking-like things that even those who pass mushrooms as food >won't eat. They're also what faries sit on. I've never seen a toad >sitting on one. >
"Toadstool" comes from a root cognate with the German "Tod", death. It implies a poisonous fungus. "Mushroom" is generally used for edible varieties. There is a bit of ambiguity, however, as the English were historically very cautious about the edibility of fungi, and so there is relatively little tradition of mushroom-picking in England (don't know about other parts of Britain). The average English person would therefore be unlikely to know whether a given wild fungus was edible or not, so in uncertain cases the two terms might be used interchangeably. However, if you can buy it at the greengrocers, it should be a mushroom. If Uncle Arthur, who liked to gather wild food in the woods and hedges, made an unfortunate mistake, it was a toadstool. Pete


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>