cockle

Definitions

Food

  • A bivalve shellfish, Cerastaderma edule (UK), C. glaucum (Mediterranean) and Cardium edule, with ribbed, grey to brown, pink or even dark blue, almost circular shell from 2.5 to 10 cm diameter found on most sea coasts and with over 200 varieties worldwide. May be eaten raw or cooked for 6 minutes, but usually sold cooked. Treat like mussels.

Publishing

  • noun a bump or wrinkle on the edge of a sheet of paper caused by damp

Travel

  • noun a small edible shellfish with a double shell

Origin & History of “cockle”

The cockle is related etymologically to another mollusc, the conch: they both began life in Greek kónkhēwhich meant ‘mussel’ as well as ‘conch’. From this was formed the diminutive konkhúlion ‘small variety of conch’ – hence ‘cockle’. The Greek word subsequently became reduced to kokhúlion, whose plural passed into medieval Latin as *cochilia. next in the chain was Old French coquille, source of the English word. The origin of the phrase cockles of one’s heart (first recorded in the mid 17th century) are not clear: some have claimed that the heart resembles a cockle shell, or more specifically that the fibres of the heart muscle spiral like the lines on a cockle shell, while others note a supposed resemblance of cockle to corculum, a Latin diminutive of cor ‘heart’, and others again point out that the scientific name for the cockle is Cardium, from Greek kardíā ‘heart’, but none of these explanations really carries conviction.
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