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Gooseberries

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  • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
    The Oxford English Dictionary gives gooseberry a couple of meanings: a chaperone, a pseudonym for the devil or an authoritarian figure, and an explanation for
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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      The Oxford English Dictionary gives gooseberry a couple of meanings: a
      chaperone, a pseudonym for the devil or an authoritarian figure, and
      an explanation for where children come from (like we use a cabbage
      patch, I guess). See below.

      I wonder if there was once a children's game called Old Gooseberry
      that gave rise to the chaperone meaning. Or maybe it meant the
      chaperone pretended to pick gooseberries in the background while
      watching the young lovers during an outing.

      Joe


      5. A chaperon or one who "plays propriety" with a pair of lovers,
      esp. in to play gooseberry. (Cf. gooseberry-picker in 8.)

      * 1837 J. F. Palmer Devonsh. Gloss., Gubbs, a go-between or
      gooseberry. `To play gooseberry' is to give a pretext to two young
      people to be together.

      * 1870 Miss Broughton Red as Rose I. 169 Gooseberry I may be..but,
      at all events, I won't be instrumental in making myself so.

      * 1881 W. E. Norris Matrim. I. 21 Let the old woman choose between
      playing gooseberry or loitering behind alone.

      * 1889 G. Allen Tents of Shem II. 118 Madame didn't know a single
      word of English and was, therefore, admirably adapted..for enacting
      with effect the part of the common or garden gooseberry.


      6.

      a. slang.

      old gooseberry = the deuce (deuce2 a); esp. to play old gooseberry, to
      make havoc (see also quot. 1796).

      * 1796 Grose's Dict. Vulg. Tongue (ed. 3) s.v., He played up old
      gooseberry among them; said of a person who, by force or threats,
      suddenly puts an end to a riot or disturbance.

      * 1827 Sporting Mag. XXI. 144 Several of the gentlemen rode over
      the dressed grounds and played old gooseberry with them.

      * 1844 Dickens Mart. Chuz. xxxviii, I'll play Old Gooseberry with
      the office, and make you glad to buy me out at a good high figure.

      * 1865 H. Kingsley Hillyars & Burtons III. xiii. 149 You should
      have a tea-stick, and take them [dogs] by the tail..and lay on like
      old gooseberry.

      * 1883 Ld. R. Gower My Remin. II. xxvii. 249 A great gale..played
      old gooseberry with the boats.


      b.

      gooseberry bush: used allusively in reference to the explanation of
      child-birth sometimes given in answer to a child's question.

      * 1944 Brahms & Simon Titania has Mother xiii. 146 Fairy
      Peaseblossom..had never thought she would find herself hankering after
      one of Simple Simon's curious questions, but now she found she simply
      couldn't wait for the next one-even if it should be `but why a
      goose-berry bush again' ?

      * 1952 V. Wilkins King Reluctant i. iii. 47 When girls come home
      and tell their fond relations that they have just found a baby..under
      a gooseberry bush, you know what the world says, don't you?

      * 1956 B. Goolden At Foot of Hills x. 234 Perhaps she's one of the
      gooseberry bush brigade and is horrified by the precocity of the
      modern young. Or is it just because she loathes babies?

      * 1964 G. L. Cohen What's Wrong with Hospitals? iv. 69
      Middle-class mothers are an anxious lot; they have no precedent on
      child-rearing which hasn't been kicked into limbo along with
      gooseberry bushes.

      * 1969 Guardian 28 Oct. 11/5 Many children said they were glad to
      know what happened, and not be fobbed off with a lot of gooseberry
      bushes.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Nick Holcz [mailto:nickh@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:11 PM
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] "apos~tol", "armada", & "automat"


      ************
      >"trinasty apos~tol"
      >
      >the/an odd man out
      >playing gooseberry {Any Anglophiles or Aussies care to explain
      >this one?}
    • Helen Fedor
      Thanks for going to all this trouble Joe. Now it makes sense. Helen ... The Oxford English Dictionary gives gooseberry a couple of meanings: a chaperone, a
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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        Thanks for going to all this trouble Joe. Now it makes sense.

        Helen



        >>> JArmata@... 03/02/05 9:20 AM >>>
        The Oxford English Dictionary gives gooseberry a couple of meanings: a
        chaperone, a pseudonym for the devil or an authoritarian figure, and
        an explanation for where children come from (like we use a cabbage
        patch, I guess). See below.

        I wonder if there was once a children's game called Old Gooseberry
        that gave rise to the chaperone meaning. Or maybe it meant the
        chaperone pretended to pick gooseberries in the background while
        watching the young lovers during an outing.

        Joe


        5. A chaperon or one who "plays propriety" with a pair of lovers,
        esp. in to play gooseberry. (Cf. gooseberry-picker in 8.)

        * 1837 J. F. Palmer Devonsh. Gloss., Gubbs, a go-between or
        gooseberry. `To play gooseberry' is to give a pretext to two young
        people to be together.

        * 1870 Miss Broughton Red as Rose I. 169 Gooseberry I may be..but,
        at all events, I won't be instrumental in making myself so.

        * 1881 W. E. Norris Matrim. I. 21 Let the old woman choose between
        playing gooseberry or loitering behind alone.

        * 1889 G. Allen Tents of Shem II. 118 Madame didn't know a single
        word of English and was, therefore, admirably adapted..for enacting
        with effect the part of the common or garden gooseberry.


        6.

        a. slang.

        old gooseberry = the deuce (deuce2 a); esp. to play old gooseberry, to
        make havoc (see also quot. 1796).

        * 1796 Grose's Dict. Vulg. Tongue (ed. 3) s.v., He played up old
        gooseberry among them; said of a person who, by force or threats,
        suddenly puts an end to a riot or disturbance.

        * 1827 Sporting Mag. XXI. 144 Several of the gentlemen rode over
        the dressed grounds and played old gooseberry with them.

        * 1844 Dickens Mart. Chuz. xxxviii, I'll play Old Gooseberry with
        the office, and make you glad to buy me out at a good high figure.

        * 1865 H. Kingsley Hillyars & Burtons III. xiii. 149 You should
        have a tea-stick, and take them [dogs] by the tail..and lay on like
        old gooseberry.

        * 1883 Ld. R. Gower My Remin. II. xxvii. 249 A great gale..played
        old gooseberry with the boats.


        b.

        gooseberry bush: used allusively in reference to the explanation of
        child-birth sometimes given in answer to a child's question.

        * 1944 Brahms & Simon Titania has Mother xiii. 146 Fairy
        Peaseblossom..had never thought she would find herself hankering after
        one of Simple Simon's curious questions, but now she found she simply
        couldn't wait for the next one-even if it should be `but why a
        goose-berry bush again' ?

        * 1952 V. Wilkins King Reluctant i. iii. 47 When girls come home
        and tell their fond relations that they have just found a baby..under
        a gooseberry bush, you know what the world says, don't you?

        * 1956 B. Goolden At Foot of Hills x. 234 Perhaps she's one of the
        gooseberry bush brigade and is horrified by the precocity of the
        modern young. Or is it just because she loathes babies?

        * 1964 G. L. Cohen What's Wrong with Hospitals? iv. 69
        Middle-class mothers are an anxious lot; they have no precedent on
        child-rearing which hasn't been kicked into limbo along with
        gooseberry bushes.

        * 1969 Guardian 28 Oct. 11/5 Many children said they were glad to
        know what happened, and not be fobbed off with a lot of gooseberry
        bushes.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Nick Holcz [mailto:nickh@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:11 PM
        To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] "apos~tol", "armada", & "automat"


        ************
        >"trinasty apos~tol"
        >
        >the/an odd man out
        >playing gooseberry {Any Anglophiles or Aussies care to explain
        >this one?}

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      • durisek@aol.com
        The bushes do have thorns, I think. Does the slovak word have any other meanings...what s the etymology? Zuzka [Non-text portions of this message have been
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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          The bushes do have thorns, I think. Does the slovak word have any other
          meanings...what's the etymology? Zuzka


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • LHBrigham
          Not only do the bushes have thorns - the berries have thorns! When you eat gooseberries, you have to carefully break all of the thorns down with your teeth
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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            Not only do the bushes have thorns - the berries have thorns! When you
            eat gooseberries, you have to carefully break all of the thorns down
            with your teeth before you can eat them. One of my aunts had a row of
            gooseberries that we would pick so she could bake a gooseberry pie.
            Horticulturists have developed thorn less gooseberries.

            Lowell


            durisek@... wrote:

            >The bushes do have thorns, I think. Does the slovak word have any other
            >meanings...what's the etymology? Zuzka
            >
            >
            >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
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            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
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          • Helen Fedor
            Both Hungarian and Slovak use the same word, egres and egres~ . Who borrowed it from whom? I would think that since it s a horticultural item (that a
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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              Both Hungarian and Slovak use the same word, "egres" and "egres~". Who
              borrowed it from whom? I would think that since it's a horticultural
              item (that a settled people would have known about), the Hungarians
              would have learned the word from their local Slavs, but it sounds
              Hungarian to me. Is this a re-borrowing?

              Helen



              >>> LHBrigham@... 03/02/05 11:23 AM >>>
              Not only do the bushes have thorns - the berries have thorns! When you

              eat gooseberries, you have to carefully break all of the thorns down
              with your teeth before you can eat them. One of my aunts had a row of

              gooseberries that we would pick so she could bake a gooseberry pie.
              Horticulturists have developed thorn less gooseberries.

              Lowell


              durisek@... wrote:

              >The bushes do have thorns, I think. Does the slovak word have any
              other
              >meanings...what's the etymology? Zuzka
              >
              >
              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >


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            • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
              I ve found differing opinions on the etymology of gooseberry, but one that makes sense to me is to derive it from gorse-berry, with gorse referring to another
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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                I've found differing opinions on the etymology of gooseberry, but one
                that makes sense to me is to derive it from gorse-berry, with gorse
                referring to another type of thorny bush (from Old English "gors").
                The Hungarian egres looks like it might be from a related Germanic
                root, just guessing though.

                By the way, in the Slovak phrase that started all this, there was no
                "gooseberry", the phrase was "trinasty apos~tol" = "a thirteenth
                apostle".

                Joe


                -----Original Message-----
                From: Helen Fedor [mailto:hfed@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 11:32 AM
                To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Gooseberries



                Both Hungarian and Slovak use the same word, "egres" and "egres~".
                Who
                borrowed it from whom? I would think that since it's a horticultural
                item (that a settled people would have known about), the Hungarians
                would have learned the word from their local Slavs, but it sounds
                Hungarian to me. Is this a re-borrowing?

                Helen



                >>> LHBrigham@... 03/02/05 11:23 AM >>>
                Not only do the bushes have thorns - the berries have thorns! When
                you

                eat gooseberries, you have to carefully break all of the thorns down
                with your teeth before you can eat them. One of my aunts had a row of

                gooseberries that we would pick so she could bake a gooseberry pie.
                Horticulturists have developed thorn less gooseberries.

                Lowell


                durisek@... wrote:

                >The bushes do have thorns, I think. Does the slovak word have any
                other
                >meanings...what's the etymology? Zuzka
              • Martin Votruba
                ... I agree, Joe, and it goes even farther. Gooseberries are not ancient Slovak, or even European fruit. The names of such plants aren t old, old Slovak,
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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                  > The Hungarian egres looks like it might be from a related
                  > Germanic root

                  I agree, Joe, and it goes even farther. Gooseberries are not ancient
                  Slovak, or even European fruit. The names of such plants aren't old,
                  old Slovak, Hungarian.

                  Like paradajky (tomatoes), egrese (gooseberries) reached the Slovaks
                  (and Hungarians) through Vienna. Their Austrian-German name
                  _Agraseln_ came from the Spanish _agraz_ (it's Stachelbeere in
                  German-German).

                  The first records of gooseberries in Slovakia come from the 1600s.

                  They probably reached Slovakia earlier. There was usually a delay
                  between when something like that appeared in the real world and when
                  it was first mentioned in a written record.


                  Martin

                  votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
                • Helen Fedor
                  So does that mean that gooseberries originally came from Iberia? This also brought to mind the Slovak word cibul a (onion), which resembles the Spanish word
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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                    So does that mean that gooseberries originally came from Iberia? This
                    also brought to mind the Slovak word "cibul'a" (onion), which resembles
                    the Spanish word "cebolla". Did cibul'a also come from Spanish or is
                    this just the Indo-European connection at word again?

                    Helen



                    >>> votrubam@... 03/02/05 12:30 PM >>>
                    > The Hungarian egres looks like it might be from a related
                    > Germanic root

                    I agree, Joe, and it goes even farther. Gooseberries are not ancient
                    Slovak, or even European fruit. The names of such plants aren't old,
                    old Slovak, Hungarian.

                    Like paradajky (tomatoes), egrese (gooseberries) reached the Slovaks
                    (and Hungarians) through Vienna. Their Austrian-German name
                    _Agraseln_ came from the Spanish _agraz_ (it's Stachelbeere in
                    German-German).

                    The first records of gooseberries in Slovakia come from the 1600s.

                    They probably reached Slovakia earlier. There was usually a delay
                    between when something like that appeared in the real world and when
                    it was first mentioned in a written record.


                    Martin

                    votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu


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                  • Martin Votruba
                    ... It s more likely that gooseberries reached Vienna _via_ Spain/Spanish (e.g., the Habsburgs ruled Spain ca. 1500-1700, as well as much of Central Europe).
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 2, 2005
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                      > that gooseberries originally came from Iberia?

                      It's more likely that gooseberries reached Vienna _via_ Spain/Spanish
                      (e.g., the Habsburgs ruled Spain ca. 1500-1700, as well as much of
                      Central Europe). Apparently, gooseberries as we know them were
                      cultivated around the 16th century from a lowlier variety of currants.

                      > "cibul'a" (onion), which resembles the Spanish word "cebolla"

                      I don't think this goes back to Indo-European directly from Slovak,
                      Helen. The word came from Latin. That almost certainly does not
                      mean that that the Old Slavs didn't have onion: it has been around
                      for millennia. A particular cultivated variety probably spread from
                      the Latin area along with the word and replaced whatever kinds of
                      onion the Europeans used to grow.


                      Martin

                      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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