currant

Definitions

Agriculture

Food

  • dried grape of the small black Corinth variety from Greece now grown elsewhere. More tart and with less sugar than the sultana and raisin.
  • The small, round berry of a variety of shrubs from Northern Europe and North Africa.

Origin & History of “currant”

Etymologically, currants are grapes from ‘Corinth’. In the middle Ages Corinth, in Greece, exported small dried grapes of particularly high quality, which became known in Old French as raisins de Corinthe ‘grapes of Corinth’. this phrase passed via Anglo-Norman raisins de corauntz into Middle English as raisins of coraunce. By the 16th century, coraunce had come to be regarded as a plural form, and a new singular was coined from it – at first coren, and then in the 17th century currant. In the late 16th century, too, the name was transferred to fruit such as the blackcurrant and redcurrant, under the mistaken impression that the ‘dried-grape’ currant was made from them.
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