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Squash | Multiple meanings

When they hear the word SQUASH, most people think of a sport.
But did you know you can eat and drink squash? And that squash and Halloween are closely related? And that it is a verb, too?

Squash is definitely much more than a sport. It is also a large family of vegetables; it is a drink; and it is a verb: to squash.

The sport

Squash is a fast sport which is played inside a closed court with long-handled rackets and a small rubber ball. It was invented by students in England around the middle of the 19th century. Did you know that even the Titanic had a squash court?

To find out where this sport got its name from, keep reading until the end of the post.

The vegetables

Squashes belong in the same family as cucumbers, courgettes (zucchini, in American English), and yes, pumpkins – the ones that are carved into Jack-O’-Lanterns at Halloween. There are summer squashes and winter squashes; there is even spaghetti squash!
Squashes come in dozens of varieties and different shapes and colours, which is why they are also popular for decoration.

Note that here we can use the noun in its countable form – a squash, squashes – and its uncountable form (meaning it has no plural).

The drink

Squash is a syrup or concentrate which is usually fruit-flavoured. It is diluted with still or sparkling water to make a drink and is also used in cocktails.
Traditionally it was flavoured with ginger or elderflower (as in the photograph) or with herbs.

The verb
  • Squash is a regular verb which needs an object.
  • It means squeeze, crush or flatten; to compress with violence, out of natural shape or condition.

For example:

Don’t put the eggs at the bottom of your bag, or they will get squashed.
He tried to squash his trainers into his sports bag.

And this explains how the sport got its name: Whenever the ball hits a wall, it is squashed, that is, flattened and compressed out of its natural shape.

Which of the multiple meanings of the word ‘squash’ surprised you the most?


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