Inspired by this question, what is the etymology of какаовелла? The какао part is easy, but what about велла?

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    – Quassnoi
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 15:23
  • 2
    In Italian, caccavelle is a kind of pasta and its etymology is not actually connected to the word cacao.
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


In English, the bean - the seed of the cacao tree Theobroma cacao - is separated into the inner "nib" - used to make chocolate - and the fibrous outer protective layer called the "shell" or "vella" or "husk" - used for mulch/fertilizer or teas/infusions.

Here's an example web page using the term "vella": https://www.ec21.com/product-details/Cocoa-Bean-Husk-Shell-Vella--11274898.html

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We have cocoa bean shell/vella/husk from our facility for export. Low fat and high fat cocoa husk is available on request. Products are well dried and meet with international standards. We have the capacity to load 300 tons monthly and our average loading capacity is 28 tons in 40 ft HC. Contact us today for videos and pictures of our facility and product.

It comes from Latin "villus" hair, tuft of hair, shaggy hair.

Compare Spanish "vello" body hair, facial fuzz, bloom on the skin of a fruit.

Not Latin "vela" - plural of "velum" sail, curtain, covering, and "velare" to cover, to veil - that became "veil".

  • 2
    very nice finding!
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 23:17
  • 2
    Interestingly, it seems that the Latin vellus is related to the Russian волос. Allegedly, the common Proto-Indo-European root is h₂welh₁- Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 10:52

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