1753, earlier tomate (c. 1600), from Spanish tomate (mid-16c.) from Nahuatl (Aztecan) tomatl "a tomato," said to mean literally "the swelling fruit," from tomana "to swell." Spelling probably influenced by potato (1565). Slang meaning "an attractive girl" is recorded from 1929, on notion of juicy plumpness.
A member of the nightshade family, all of which contain poisonous alkaloids. Introduced in Europe from the New World, by 1550 they regularly were consumed in Italy but grown only as ornamental plants in England and not eaten there or in the U.S. at first. An encyclopedia of 1753 describes it as "a fruit eaten either stewed or raw by the Spaniards and Italians and by the Jew families of England." Introduced in U.S. 1789 as part of a program by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, but not commonly eaten until after c. 1830.
The older English name for it, and the usual one before mid-18c., was love-apple.
also B.L.T., type of sandwich, initialism for bacon, lettuce, and tomato, the ingredients; 1940s, American English.
the cocktail, attested from 1947 (originally touted in part as a hangover cure), said to be named for Mary Tudor, queen of England 1553-58, who earned her epithet for vigorous prosecution of Protestants. The drink earned its, apparently, simply for being red from tomato juice. The cocktail's popularity also coincided with that of the musical "South Pacific," which has a character named "Bloody Mary."
Originally a fish sauce made from various plant juices, the word came to be used in English for a wide variety of spiced gravies and sauces; "Apicius Redivivus; or, the Cook's Oracle," by William Kitchiner, London, 1817, devotes 7 pages to recipes for different types of catsup (his book has 1 spelling of ketchup, 72 of catsup), including walnut, mushroom, oyster, cockle and mussel, tomata, white (vinegar and anchovies figure in it), cucumber, and pudding catsup. Chambers's Encyclopaedia (1870) lists mushroom, walnut, and tomato ketchup as "the three most esteemed kinds." Tomato ketchup emerged c. 1800 in U.S. and predominated from early 20c.
old name for "tomato," 1570s, translating French pomme d'amour, corresponding to German Liebesapfel, etc., but the alleged aphrodisiac qualities that supposedly inspired the name seem far-fetched. The phrase also has been explained as a mangled transliteration of the Italian name pomo d'oro (by 1560s), taken as from adorare "to adore," but probably rather from d'or "of gold" (the earliest tomatoes brought to Italy in the mid-1500s apparently were of the yellow or orange variety), or, less likely, pomo de'Mori or Spanish pome dei Moro, literally "Moorish apple."