plum

Definitions

General English

Construction

  • A large randomly shaped stone dropped into freshly placed mass concrete to economize on the volume of concrete used. See also cyclopean concrete. See also plum stone.

Food

  • The fruit of deciduous trees, Prunus domestica and other species of Prunus, with yellow through purple skin usually with a fine bloom of wild yeast, a central stone and a generally sweet flesh. All need cool winters to fruit. There are many varieties, e.g. greengage, damson, cherry plum, mirabelle, quetsch plum, bullace, Japanese or salicine and Victoria. dried plums are known as prunes.

Slang

  • noun a foolish person. Synonyms are the less common pear and peach. The widespread term was recorded in use amongst junior schoolchildren in the 1980s and among teenage North London schoolboys in the 1990s.

Origin & History of “plum”

Plum and prune ‘dried plum’ are ultimately the same word. Their common ancestor was Greek proumnon, a word which originated somewhere in Asia minor. This was later contracted to prounon, and borrowed into Latin as prōnum. Its plural prōna came to be regarded in post-classical times as a singular, and this is where English gets prune from, but prōna was also borrowed into prehistoric Germanic, and many of its descendants here have had their r changed to l (the two are close together phonetically) – hence German pflaume, Swedish plommon, and English plum.
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