To enter the world of zucchini is to find oneself tangled in language, lost in a vegetable tower of Babel. The word zucchini comes from the Italian and is the diminutive for Zucco or zucca (female preferred). Then the tangle begins. The Italian diminutive is zucchine with an e and the American-English misspelling uses the letter i. The British, originators of what we Americans consider a shared language, do not emulate the correct Italian, and they certainly don't copy American. Instead they copy the French who call zucchini courgette. Courgette is the diminutive of courges which is translated as gourd. The zucchini is soft-skinned and cannot be used as a gourd. Does the diminutive imply that no French gardener never found one of those overgrown zucchini lurking under a leaf?
An alternate French word to courge is gourde, earlier coorde, and was originally born from Latin cucurbita which now is the word that classifies squashes and related vining plants such as the cucumber. To courgette and gourde, to zucchine and zucchini, we can add the Spanish word calabaza to be truly confused.
We endure linguistic complexities in an effort to trace the origins of zucchini. History tells us that squash was a gift from the new world to the old, that it was brought by the explorers on their return to their native homeland. Zucca or zucchine may be the exception. It is highly possible that zucchine, show-off that it is, developed as a mutation of its own.