Word for Wednesday: Cherry

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for July is fruit

The word fruit dates back to the late-twelfth century when it was used to mean ‘any vegetable product useful to humans or animals’. It entered English via Old French and comes from the Latin ‘fructus’ meaning ‘an enjoyment, delight, or satisfaction’ as well as ‘proceeds, produce, fruit, and crops’.  The word took on its modern meaning in the early thirteenth century.

So far we’ve looked at the words bananapineappleplum, and pomegranate —today’s word is cherry

A cherry is a small round fruit with a single hard stone. It is usually red in colour. 

The word comes from the Old North French ‘cherise’ meaning ‘cherry’, from the vulgar Latin ‘ceresia’, from the Greek ‘kerasos’ meaning ‘cherry tree’. 

Because the word ends with an -s sound, ‘cherise’ was mistaken as a plural when it entered Middle English. hen stripped of its -s, the fruit became known in its singular form as ‘cherie’. The same mistake was made with pea (which entered English as ‘pease’) and the caper (which entered English as ‘capparis’).

Take a look at this month’s Idioms blog post to learn about figurative expressions that feature the word cherry

29 Jul 2020
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