berry

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a small fleshy fruit with several seeds, e.g. a tomato or a grape

Food

  • A small fruit with pulpy flesh enclosing one or more seeds or an assembly of small sacs of juice each enclosing one seed within it or on its surface

Wine

  • a small fleshy seed-bearing fruit such as a grape. There are usually many seeds in the same fruit, and the seeds are enclosed in a pulp.
  • a sweet fruity taste characteristic of blackberries, raspberries or cherries

Origin & History of “berry”

Berry is a strictly Germanic word, not found in other branches of Indo-European (German has beere, Dutch bes, and Danish bær). Its earliest application seems to have been specifically to grapes; the only record of it in Old Saxon and Gothic is in the compound ‘wineberry’, and around 1000 Aelfric translated Deuteronomy 23:24 into Old English as ‘If you go into your friend’s vineyard, eat the berries’. But by the middle Ages the term had broadened out to encompass the sorts of fruit we would recognize today as berries. The word goes back ultimately to a prehistoric Germanic *basj-, which it has been speculated may be related to Old English basu ‘red’.
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