"the seed of a hardy leguminous vine," a well-known article of food, early or mid-17c., a false singular from Middle English pease (plural pesen), which was both single and collective (as wheat, corn) but the "s" sound was mistaken for the plural inflection. From Old English pise (West Saxon), piose (Mercian) "pea," from Late Latin pisa, variant of Latin pisum "pea," probably a loan-word from Greek pison "the pea," a word of unknown origin (Klein suggests it is from Thracian or Phrygian).
In Southern U.S. and the Caribbean, used of other legumes as well. Pea soup "soup made from peas" is recorded by 1711 (as pease-soup); the term was applied to London fogs at least since 1849. Pea-green as a hue resembling fresh peas is by 1752. Pea-shooter "toy consisting of a long straw or tube through which dried peas may be blown" is attested from 1803.
also chick-pea, 1712, a false singular of chich-pease (1540s), earlier simply chich (late 14c.), cich, from Old French chiche "chick-pea" (13c.), from Latin cicer "pea," which is of uncertain origin, but with likely cognates in Greek kikerroi "pale," Armenian sisern "chick-pea," Albanian thjer "lentil." The Latin plural, cicera, is also the source of Italian cece and was borrowed into Old High German as chihhra (German Kichererbse).
The English word was altered after 17c. on the model of French pois chiche , and folk-etymologized as chick-. For second element, see pease.
"chick-pea," 1759 (from 1712 as garvanzo), from Spanish garbanzo, which is said to be ultimately from Greek or Basque.
"peas collectively," Old English; see pea, of which this is the original form. Pease-porridge "a porridge made of pease meal" is from 1530s.
type of American shrub of the pea family, found from Texas and California to Chile, 1759, from Mexican Spanish mezquite, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) mizquitl "mesquite." It is noted for its heavy, hard wood.
"young girl," U.S. slang, c. 2002, from American Spanish chica "girl," fem. of chico "boy," noun use of adjective meaning "small" (here used as an affectionate term of address), from Latin ciccum, literally "chick-pea," figurative of a small thing or an object of little value (compare Old French chiche).
1807; see pea + nut. Earlier, and still commonly in England, ground nut, ground pea (1769). The plant is native to South America; Portuguese traders took peanuts from Brazil and Peru to Africa by 1502 and it is known to have been cultivated in Chekiang Province in China by 1573, probably arriving with Portuguese sailors who made stops in Brazil en route to the Orient.
Peanut butter is attested by 1892; peanut brittle "hard toffee with peanuts roasted in it" is from 1894. Peanut gallery "topmost (and cheapest) rows of a theater" is from 1874, American English, from the peanuts sold as inexpensive snacks; peanuts "trivial sum" is from 1934; peanut for "small or unimportant person" is by 1942. The Peanuts newspaper comic strip by U.S. cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) debuted under that name on Oct. 2, 1950.