apricot

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a deciduous tree (Prunus armeniaca) bearing soft yellow fruit, similar to a small peach, but not as juicy

Food

  • A round, orange-coloured fruit with a rich aromatic flavour from a tree, Prunus armeniaca, of the plum family. Suitable for stewing, for sorbets and for jam-making; often preserved by drying.

Slang

  • exclamation
    (written as apricot!)
    a generalised term of approval recorded among middle-class students in 1999. It may be a jocular version of ‘peachy’.

Wine

  • a smell normally associated with Sémillons, Muscats, and some sweet Riesling wines

Origin & History of “apricot”

The word apricot reached English by a peculiarly circuitous route from Latin. The original term used by the Romans for the apricot, a fruit which came ultimately from China, was prūnum Arminiacum or mālum Arminiacum ‘Armenian plum or apple’ (Armenia was an early source of choice apricots). But a new term gradually replaced these: mālum praecocum ‘early-ripening apple’ (praecocus was a variant of praecox, from which English gets precocious). Praecocum was borrowed by a succession of languages, making its way via Byzantine Greek beríkokkon and Arabic al birqūq ‘the apricot’ to Spanish albaricoque and Portuguese albricoque. this was the source of the English word, but its earliest form, abrecock, shows that it had already acquired the initial abr- of French abricot, and the final -t followed almost immediately. Spellings with p instead of b are also found in the 16th century.
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