Word for Wednesday: Plum

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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  banana and pineapple, —today’s word is plum

A plum is an oval fruit with smooth skin and a single hard stone in the centre. When ripe, a plum is usually purple, red, or yellow. 

The word comes from the Old English ‘plume’,  from the Vulgar Latin ‘pruna’, from the Latin ‘prunum’. Until the mid-fourteenth century the same word was used to describe both the plum and its dried counterpart the prune.  Interestingly, plum is a slang term used to describe something desirable (the first recorded in 1780), while prune describes someone who is disagreeable or disliked (the first recorded in 1895).

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

15 Jul 2020
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