why dehydrated grapes and plums are called raisins and prunes, respectively, but we don’t name other dehydrated fruits different from their original names?

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Where did the naming convention come from for these two fruits and why isn’t it applied to others?

Edit: this simple question has garnered far more attention than I thought it would. The bottom line is some English royals and French peasants used their own words for the same thing but used their respective versions for the crop vs the product. Very interesting. Also, I learned other languages have similar occurrences that don’t translate into English. Very cool.

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25 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Actually we do….peppers have different names when dried

Ancho chili is just dried pablano; chipotle is a dried jalapeño 

AND raisin sec is french for “dried grape” ; so we just shortened the french word

Anonymous 0 Comments

Raisin is french for grape… So it’s probably another case of English having two ways of saying a thing, or two word origins from different languages. Like cow and beef, for instance.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Same reason we have Capons and Oxen. Certain things entered the English language as differentiator of state rather than us adjectives. Not a lot of figs in England, so dried figs it is. Lamb, Hogget and Mutton are the same animal, but Whale meat… that’s just whale meat in English.

Anonymous 0 Comments

English for the animal, French for the animal’s meat.

English isn’t a language so much as just an amalgamation of many disparate languages and dialects.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not the only ones

wolfberries dried = goji berry approximating the chinese name

persimmons dried are starting to be called Gotham after the Korean name

Even a currant is an fancy type of raisin

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

A prune is a type of plum that is able to be dried. Not all plums can make prunes. What confused me for the longest time is that people used to call plum trees that produce plums that can be pruned, prune trees. Even though the fruits are plums. Like, “let’s go to the prune orchard and get some plums”

It’s weird

Anonymous 0 Comments

Another question is why there is prune juice. Like, how do you get juice from a dried fruit?

Turns out it’s more like prune tea. You dehydrate the plums to make prunes, and then you add water to the prunes and let them steep, and then you remove the water which is now prune juice. So, remove water, add water, remove water again. And prune “juice” is different from plum juice.


No, wait. The other one.


Anonymous 0 Comments

Because Guillaume le Bâtard invaded England in 1066, won the Battle of Hastings, and became William the Conqueror. England was then ruled by French-speaking nobility who gradually assimilated over centuries. The Anglo-Saxon words the conquered peasants used for food became associated with the live animals and fresh fruits and vegetables they handled. The French words for food became associated with the cut-up meat and dried fruits and vegetables the nobility ate. In French, boeuf is cow, porc is pig, poulet is chicken, raisin is grape, and prune is plum.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Now do peppers, a dried and smoked jalapeño is a Chipotle, a dried poblano is an ancho and there are more