In our modern, globalized world, everybody knows what an avocado is. Few, on the other hand, understand the strange history and original meaning of the word. Generation after generation had difficulty awarding the unique fruit an adequate title, including the original harvesters that decided to name it after male genitalia.

The Aztecs: Testicle Sauce 

Each native to Mexico, the Aztecs were the first to name the avocado. The Aztecs decided on the native word "ahuacatl," the same word used for testicles. That's right: your favorite food is named after testicles. 

It is believed that the Aztecs decided on this name for two reasons, the most obvious being their rounded, tear-drop shape. The second is that the Aztecs believed that avocados contained aphrodisiac qualities, meaning that eating them enhances sexual desire. 

The word guacamole also derives from the native Aztec word, "ahuacamolli." "Ahuacamolli" is a compilation of "ahuacatl" and "molli," translating directly into English as testicle sauce. Appetizing, right? 

From Testicles to Avocados

When the Spanish took over Mexico, the word for the fruit transformed into aguacate. When English speakers discovered the fruit and found this name too complicated to pronounce, over 40 names for the fruit evolved over the United States. The names ranged from avogato to alligator pear

The US Department of Agriculture decided that it was in their best interest to settle on a single name. Since names like aguacate were too hard to pronounce and names like alligator pears seemed misleading, avocado became the official name of the green, buttery fruit. 

Avocados Today

Today, avocados are in high demand worldwide. People are attracted to the nutritional richness and unique buttery texture of the fruit, which has resulted in an actual avocado shortage.

Many understand that the fruit originated in Mexico and assume the word avocado is rooted in Spanish or Aztec languages, but few would guess that it all began with testicles.