General English


  • noun a cane (Rubus idaeus) which provides a most important soft fruit, sold fresh, sent for freezing and also used for processing into jams


  • A fruit similar to the blackberry but softer, light red, occasionally white or black, with a covering of fine down and a sweet, slightly acid, fruity, perfumed flavour. The wild variety are small to 5 mm but domesticated varieties can grow to 2.5 cm long. It is grown on a cool-climate rambling plant, Rubus idaeus, which is cultivated so as to produce new, relatively short canes each year. The fruit tend to soften and go mouldy quickly and must be used when fresh, canned or deep-frozen. Used raw or cooked and often puréed to form a coulis or sauce. One of the fruits in summer pudding.


  • noun a farting sound made by blowing through the lips, a Bronx cheer. Now an innocent colloquialism heard all over the English-speaking world, it derives from the late 19th-century London rhyming-slang phrase, ‘raspberry tart’: fart.


  • noun a small red soft fruit shaped like a tiny cup


  • a taste or aroma associated with red wines made from the Pinot Noir grape variety, e.g. in the Burgundy region of France, and with some red wines from the Rhône

Origin & History of “raspberry”

The origins of the word raspberry are a mystery. At first, the fruit was known simply as raspes or raspis (recorded in an Anglo-Latin text as early as the 13th century), and the -berry was not tacked on until the early 17th century – but no one knows where raspes came from. Its use for a ‘rude noise made by blowing’, first recorded in the 1890s, comes from rhyming slang raspberry tart ‘fart’.