Where does the term “horse chestnut” come from and How did the horse chestnut get its name?

Our English name “horse chestnut” is nothing more than a translation of the sixteenth-century Latin botanical name, Castanea equina.

The name, according to a late-sixteenth-century writer, was “for that the people of the East countries do with the fruit thereof cure their horses of the cough.”

It is much more probable, however, that horse merely indicated “large,” as is the case with a number of other materials, the horse bean, horse mackerel, horse-radish, for example.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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