The berry family is a linguistic invention particular to Germanic languages, like English. Other languages, like Spanish and French, do not combine the wide, diverse berry family into one group, but rather have very different words for blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. The word berry comes from the Old English berie, which originally meant “grape.” As the English language spread to the Americas with colonization, many native grape-shaped fruits that grew in bunches took on the berry suffix: blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, etc. Though the many small, delicious fruits known as berries were grouped together in a linguistic accident, they are in fact many biologically distinct plants and fruits.
A botanist would probably tell you that grouping berries together is about as accurate as calling dolphins, tadpoles and squid “water creatures.” True berries are simply fruits in which each fruit comes from one flower, like blueberries. Even cucumbers and tomatoes are technically berries! Botanically speaking, blueberries (Latin family: Ericaceae) are more closely related to rhododendrons than they are to raspberries. Strawberries (Latin family: Fragaria) are called accessory fruits by botanists because they grow from parts of the plant other than the flowers. Raspberries and blackberries (Latin family: Rubus) are another example altogether. They are called aggregate fruits because their flowers form drupelets instead of one whole fruit. Drupelet is the technical word for the individual morsels of blackberries and raspberries. Fruits in the Rubus family are also called bramble fruits because they grow on spiky bushes.
Grapes, by the way, are technically berries. But where did the word grape come from? In Old English grapes were called winberige, literally “wine berry.” The word grape comes from the Old French word graper, which came from the word krappon, the hook used to pick grapes. In English, the tool became synonymous with the fruit in 1300s. (What other food words have morphed in weird ways? The history of the “hot dog” may gross you out, and the origin of egg is not to be missed.)
Luckily, the erroneous linguistic grouping of “berries” gave us great treats like mixed berry ice cream, which may confuse botanists and non-Germanic language speakers.
Nice, but what’s a mulberry?
Thats a nice artical
And what about dingleberries?
L Love all kinds of berries , I can put the berries in al kinds of foods .
A mulberry is a fragile fruit which grows on the mulberry tree.
The female tree needs a male tree in close proximity so that it
can bear fruit. Never have seen mulberries sold at regular
grocery stores because they whither so very quickly.
Deer and squirrels LOVE them! They also will dye your hands
a fiesty color of purple – as well as clothes, etc.
ps: “artical” is spelled ARTICLE : )
lol nice testees!!!!!!!!!!!! Great article!!!!!! Come to this site EVERYSINGLE-years. Jk I come to this website every single day just for dis kind of stuff!!! Keep up the good work guys!!!!!!XD
“The berry family is a linguistic invention particular to Germanic languages, like English. Other languages, like Spanish and French, do not combine the wide, diverse berry family into one group, but …”
I would hope the editors of The Hot Word Blog to have sufficient confidence in their readers to refer to Spanish and French not as “non-Germanic languages,” but by their proper classification, “romance languages.”
berries!!! YUM . . .
Mulberry is the edible collective fruit of any of the trees of the genus Moros, or any tree of the genus. It’s the plant that silkworms eat the leaves of. I have one in my back yard, sadly with no silk.
Ooh what a post name! And you want to discuss dingleberries? You’re just talkin’ dirty. Be careful or Papa Censor will kick you right in your submission.
odd… One more example of how arbitrary language is!
[...] ‘Berries’ vary very much: — So it seems what you are saying. — Eggs and hot dogs don’t seem to touch, — on the scale that is surveying. — So much information with subtext out of sync. — Berries, Juice and Spill the Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee.– So much to eat and strained to drink. – Eggs and hot dogs? What chu think? –>>L.T.Rhyme This entry was posted in DICTCOMHOTWORD, L.T.Rhyme and tagged LT, LTRhyme, the HOT WORD by admin. Bookmark the permalink. [...]
Thank you, testees, for brightening a dreich day in Glasgow with that comment. Induced more than a slight chuckle.
Stawberries don’t grow from the flowers? That seems wrong, but what do I know…
*strawberries* – sorry
My favorite berry is a Halle Berry. Absolutely delicious.
A mulberry is a berry that comes from a tree. They look sort of like blackberries, but I think they taste a little better and they’re sweeter. Also the individual sections over mulberries are smaller than on blackberries. The trees don’t have any thorns on them. I think when it comes to picking them they’re a whole lot more convenient and better; the only downside to them is that when you pick them, the tiny green stem comes along – so if you don’t wanna eat stems (you can’t taste the difference though) you gotta pull the stem out. They’re great for making pies! But it just takes time to pick enough and pull or cut all the stems out. My sister makes the greatest mulberry pies – but she likes to get me to do the stem cutting.
It seems like the last few times I found a new blog on this site with only a few comments, I posted a comment and was listed as the second or third person, and then the next day my comment was listed as one of the last few posted, way beyond the comments mine originally appeared by. Right now I only see four comments, so this should be the fifth or sixth, but somehow I doubt it. I wish I could look through all the comments before I post one so that I don’t end up saying the same thing as someone else, and because I enjoy reading others’ comments and replying to them.
Mulberries are what bears eat before they attach you.
Wait, so “berry” comes from “berie” the Old English word for “grape”…
but the Old English word for “grape” is “winberige”… which means “wine berry”.
So if I want to refer to a grape in Old English, do I call it a “berie” or a “winberige”?
And if I want to refer to a berry, is it a “berie” or a “berige”?
I’m so confused!
It was really informative. I always thought all these berries are one family. Good one.
A dingleberry, if using the info in this article, would be an accessory fruit.
Woah woah woah! Never lernt this or rad this any where except for here! Awwwww I HAVE TO LIVE UP TO MY NAME AS A SCIENCE GEEK! * researches even more*
That’s all berry nice.
“The word berry comes from the Old English berie, which originally meant ‘grape.’”
“In Old English grapes were called winberige, literally ‘wine berry.’”
Also, strange that the tool for picking a fruit was named before the fruit it was invented to pick was named!
What about snozberries?
Does “cherry” have any relation to “berry”?
How berry exciting. Oh, come on, someone had to say it.
Oh, Bob Beazley beat me to it. Oh well.
Let us see whether we have this construct correct:
Berry < berige (y-grec) < egireb (semipalindrome) < grape grampe > egiremeb > bemerige (y-grec) > bemery.
And, What is that–?
Since the berry (familiar food) was the fruit cut off with a krappon,
The bemry (unfamiliar food) should be the fruit cut off with a krampon,…
But, The krampon we know from mountain climbing and particularly icy,
So, The bemery should be chewing gravel, or chewable ice junks, available in many colors….
This did not work: It left out a choice little piece of dialog and punctuation in the middle…
Trying once more, the middle piece was:
Snozberries? Who ever heard of snozberries? Guess we’ll have to try the lickable wallpaper eh, Daniel?
another piece of trivia
Oh. Yeah, I think cherries aren’t berries because they grow in trees. But don’t take my word for it.
And one last thing. I knew a tomato was a fruit but I didn’t know it was also a sort of berry. Buy where do you get a cucumber as a berry?
It is true that Romance languages have very different words for berries: mirtillo, fragola, and mora for blueberry, strawberry, and blackberry, respectively, in Italian.
However, there is a “berry” category. Italians refer to berries as “frutti di bosco,” literally “fruits of the woods.”
Daniel on October 14, 2011 at 9:13 am
What about snozberries?
THE SNOZBERRIES TASTE LIKE SNOZBERRIES!
How is this different from “fruit,” “seafood” or “shellfish”? Lots of things are grouped together for convenience and not because of science.
Worst. Article. Ever.
Might as well make a list…
Here are a few of our “berry” words floating around (not including grapes and currants and so on, which are botanical berries):
Camu camu berry
Wineberry (different from ‘winberige’)
Some of these are actually “drupes” (“stone fruits”, or pitted fruits, like cherries) or other things entirely. Many are also synonymous or overlapping in meaning, and most have a variety of sub-types.
Clearly, “berry” has been a productive fruit morpheme. You can potentially add it to any berry-making plant (particularly toxic ones *), and hybridisation and global commerce continue to expand the category. You’ll also find newish brand-type words like “razzleberry”, “wildberry”, “tazziberry”, and so on.
There’s another group of “-berry” words used for place names and surnames (e.g., Mayberry, Newberry), related not to fruit but to ‘burg’, ‘borough’, ‘barrow’ (meaning roughly “town” and originally “hill”) and even to ‘burrow’, ‘bury’, and ‘borrow’.
Anyway, some items like “Thornberry” can seem unclear as to whether they’re forgotten fruit names or locational surnames; but if people do use them as names, I’d lean toward the latter. Then again, all it takes are a few farmers or marketers adopting the place name for a plant and, presto, it’s another berry.
Snozberries only appear on wallpaper… unfortunatly. They’d probably taste good.
Cherries are not berries, I think. I think it was something about having a large pit-like seed instead of lots of smaller seeds, or something like that.
Oops; plant or flavour.
kool i never new that, can u include,how cucumbers and tomates were once called berries and when n how did they change it.
i meant why
I like David’s 10-14-11 comment “Stawberries don’t grow from the flowers?…..”, where he later corrects himself “Strawberries”. When I read “Stawberries”, I immediately pictured Elmer Fudd saying that, then giggling, just before he set out to shoot some “Wabbits”!
Nice to know!
@ Andrea, What do you mean male/female trees? ???
@OLH064: A mulberry is an aggregate fruit similar in appearance to a blackberry or raspberry.
@Eyewitness: Perhaps when the author referred to non-Germanic languages (strictly speaking, non-Teutonic languages), he also referred to Slavic languages and others which are neither Teutonic nor Romance.
@Don: A cherry is a drupe, because it has a pit. Other drupes include peaches and plums. True berries have the seeds scattered throughout the flesh, like tomatoes and watermelons. A fruit with a core, such as apples and pears, is a pome. A fruit with a hollow center and seeds in a slippery matrix, such as pumpkins and cantaloupes, is a pepo. A citrus fruit is a hesperidium.
@.com: A male tree produces pollen, but does not have flowers to receive it. A female tree has flowers to receive pollen, but does not produce pollen.
What a good good read
mulberry is shahtoot
BLOGCHI is a bot that needs to be banned.
I had no idea that there is so much interesting information about our sort-of berries, both biologically and etymologically.
There are certainly many more berries–whether legitimate or not–than I’ve ever heard of, never mind seen or eaten.
My favorites are raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. I also love wild strawberries, though I haven’t seen or tasted them in about 50 years. I love the ones with at least a hint of tartness, definitely not the cloyingly sweet ones.
Regarding berries, here is the delightful closing song to the 1980 animated TV special “The World of Strawberry Shortcake,” written by the wonderful Romeo Muller, who wrote all the very greatest Rankin-Bass Christmas and holiday specials, including the celebrated “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold,” and many more. Go to the Rankin-Bass website’s Spotlight section for a filmography and a biography of this splendid writer.
In the following duet (lyrics by Romeo Muller), “S” stands for Strawberry Shortcake, and “P” stands for her just-converted-to-goodness erstwhile nemesis, The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak.
The YouTube link is:
This gives the last 6 minutes and 22 seconds of the show, and the closing song begins at the 3:51 minute mark. However do yourself a favor and watch the whole show!
P: (speaking): Oh! You–you said “berry” again!
P: Why must you keep saying—BERRY?
S: (singing): It’s fun to say berry!
P: (singing): Fun to say berry?
S: I berry talk all the day through . . .
P: If you could just teach me,
Perhaps you could reach me!
I’d like to berry talk too!
S: Okay, I’ll show you how!
S: If a day is real hot, it is berry hot;
And if it is cold, berry chilly;
If a book is real long, it is berry long–
P: And if it is short–oh I feel silly!
S: Oh no, don’t feel silly!
But you didn’t say berry–
P: I tried to say berry–
My mouth won’t do as it’s told . . .
S: Well listen to berries,
I’ll sing some more berries,
On berry talk you must be sold!
P: Oh pretty pumpkins!
S: Like to ride ‘cross the stream on the Berry Boat–
P: Her berries are extra-ordinary–
S: And what do I see
When I turn on TV?
My favorite cartoon, Tom and Berry!
P: Incredible berry!
A berry fine berry!
I did it! I know what to say!
You better stand far back,
I’m just gonna roar back,
And berry talk all of the way!
S: Okay, now you do it!
P: On Halloween night I am berry scared–
The berry bad guys I can’t dismiss;
And what do I say
On Christmas Day?
S: With a berry?
P: Yeah! Berry Christmas!
S: Oh wonderful!! You’ve learned to say berry!
P: Oh I love to say berry!
S: Then I’ll be your berry good friend . . .
P: We’ll berry together,
S: In all sorts of weather,
Both: Berry good friends to the end . . .
We’ll berry together,
In all sorts of weather,
Berry good friends to the end!
Once you complete your post and submit it, it presents at the end of the page that you have downloaded, and seems to be the next in line. However, while you’ve been doing that, several other people have also been submitting. All submissions are held in a cache at D.com until they are cleared by a tech as acceptable to be added to the thread. They can’t be insulting or profane, etc. Once they’ve been cleared, they are added to the active page in chronological order. Depending on how active a thread is, what time of day you submit and how long between the time you downloaded the most recent iteration, and the time you submitted, you may be the next post or you may be way down the page. You have to leave your version of the page and re-enter the active one to find out where you land. Carlitos and I, and a couple of others have had posts disappear into cyberspace for various reasons. They were there when we left but not when we got back. Sometimes only an offending portion disappears, see Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry above at 10:15, Oct. 14.
As I post this, .com on October 14 at 2:41pm is the last post above my submission. @ Andrea, What do you mean male/female trees ? ???
Let’s see where I land. If nobody else does, I’ll answer his question.
True, buuut… a true botanist would also tell you that strawberries do not belong to the Fragaria family (Fragaria is the genus’ name), and raspberries are not part of the Rubus family (again, genus’ name); in truth, they both belong to the rose family (Rosaceae). Blueberries, cranberries, bilberries and lingonberries, among others, do belong to the Ericaceae (and, indeed, to the same genus: Vaccinium).
If you’re writing articles commenting on scientific details, double-check your science as well, please!
I love berries soo much..<3 =)
In accordance with the explanation above, mulberries are drupelets (like rasp- and blackberries).
And speakeing about grapes, how come a citrus came to be called grapefruit?
@ .com, female trees yield flowers with only female organs and male trees yield male flowers. Some plants (not just trees) bear either female or male flowers in one plant. The technical term for these is dioicous.
For example, if you have just one kiwi tree in your orchard, it is unlikely to produce. Unless it be a female and your neighbour has planted a male kiwi tree.
Getting hungry looking at the dictionary, gotta be something wrong with that.
Woah agkcrbs thats an interesting list you are making!
@.com: female trees are trees that bear flowers with only stigma and ovary as their reproductive system. Male trees are those that bear fowers with anther as the reproductive system. The pollen from the anther will get transported to the stigma by either wind or animal and this has a hugher rate of success if trees with both gender are close to each other. .com hope this helps!
And Andrea FYI whither means a place. The word you are trying to use is spelled wither. Thought you’d like to know since you corrected someone else’s misspelling.
It’s always interesting how words develop and their meanings change throughout history and their introduction to new peoples. Morphology could keep me entertained for days – always something to learn.
Very interesting article. I love berries, too and have a mulberry tree in the backyard. Mulberries make delicious pies!
Interesting how the word berry came from grapes but grapes aren’t beries
Funerals where people bring berries instead of flowers are called berrials.
An Informative & Nicely done article, Kudos!
IDC wat berries name r i just like them
That’s cool to know!
Good article. Just can someone now explain to me the relation of graper to krappon? I realize people saying krappon is derogatory. Still nowhere can this transition be found. Looking up both words here at the site provided no clues at all.
a berry…very good article
@testees- actually dingleberries are synonymous with the word krappon, the hook used to pick grapes.
@George Zadorozny- you have way too much time on your hands.
Sent from my BlackBerry
So why does German have “Beere” (Blaubeere=Blue berries; Erdbeere; strawberries)? If this is a result of people moving to America, did Americans then go to Europe and impact German?
Cranberries is also an odd one.
its agood artical.now i know more about berries
Actually, forgive me for stating the obvious, but the grape is not an indigenous fruit of the UK (hence massive importation of wine from France, Italy, Portugal and the New World), unlike the raspberry, the gooseberry, the blackberry and the black current, so I disagree, I don’t think that the word ‘berry’ means ‘grape’ at all.
@alex – you do realize by disagreeing, you will be banned from this site?
@Ryuu – I think you are getting a little too upset. Who cares? And stop hurting the dogs.
Ohhh how I like the article. berry, berry, berry nice. And it’s oh so berry informative!
Enjoyed reading comments too, berry good.
Thank you berry much.
Whoa.. I never expected grape to be the “original” berry. Although it would make a lot of sense..
Very interesting. Now can we please get an article about the difference between vegetables and fruit?
@Agkcrbs – You’ve made a nice list, however, I don’t think it’s complete without the:
I don’t know what I like to ready more the article or the comments that follow! Either way I enjoyed all of them bery bery much!
Opps I mean READ
Who is Barry Lincoln and what are snozberries on wallpaper?
Do you know that beri – beri is a disease in Philippines?
It is when you are missing some vitamins from the body and pressing the skin will leave red marks wich will not fade away for long time.
Did you know that the largest berry is a watermelon? Weird, right?
eggplant is also considered as one of the berries
According to Dictionary.com. watermelon is of gourd family; gourd is cucurbitaceous family of plants, which are creeping plants bearing cucumber (hence, the name cucu… perhaps), pumpkins, squashes and the likes.
And eggplant “a plant, Solanum melongena esculentum,of the nightshade family, cultivated for its edible, dark-purple or occasionally white or yellow fruit,” says the D….com.
This is a bit over my head, but I was fascinated that cucumbers and tomatoes could be considered berries per the original use of the word “berry.”
[...] What are vegetables now? Well, that depends on who you ask. Botanists, nutritionists, government agencies and everyday people all hold contradictory opinions on the matter. Let’s take the example of two tablespoons of tomato sauce. We already know what Congress thinks of that, but what does the USDA recommended nutrition think of it? Tomatoes are part of the family of “Red or Orange Vegetables” which also includes squash, carrots and red peppers. Botanists would say that tomatoes are Solanum lycopersicum, and we technically eat the fruit of the plant. (Genetically speaking, the tomato is very closely related to the potato.) According to nutritionists anything from beets (which are roots) to spinach (which are leaves) to tomatoes (which are fruits) count as “vegetables.” They are typically rich in nutrients and low in fat and protein. The main difference between fruits and vegetables are that fruits are sweet (and higher in sugar) and vegetables are savory (and lower in sugar). Find out what makes a berry a berry here. [...]
congrats to testees for the first comment in the gutter