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garbanzo bean

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Garbanzo bean is the term used in the context of Spanish and Latin American cuisine for ‘chickpea’. It comes from Spanish garbanzo, which English originally took over in the seventeenth century as garvance. It was gradually anglicized to calavance, and over the years came to be used more and more loosely for any kind of bean or pulse (‘When I was in the Navy, haricot beans were in constant use as a substitute for potatoes, and in Brazil and elsewhere were called calavances,’ Sir Joseph Hooker, 1880). The original Spanish became re-established in the nineteenth century, mainly through American Spanish. It is an alteration (presumably influenced by garroba, ‘carob’) of Old Spanish arvanço, which itself was borrowed from a prehistoric Germanic word for a plant of the pea family that may ultimately be of Asiatic origin.

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