Fun Etymology Tuesday – Pineapple

Hey there internauts and internautettes!
It is the day known as Tuesday in these Nordic lands and, as usual, it’s time for our weekly appointment with the history of words.

Today’s Fun Etymology is “pineapple”!

What a bizarre fruit a pineapple is, all yellow and spiky, and yet sooo sweet. We love pineapples.

As thousands of “English is so weird” memes have probably taught you, the word used in the English language is not the one most other languages use to name this South American fruit.
The word “pineapple” can be traced back to as far as the late 14th century, when nobody in Europe even knew of the existence of pineapples, and it used to refer to pine cones. If you think about it, it kind of makes sense, what with pine cones being the fruits (or I guess “apples”) of the pine tree.
When the pineapple was discovered, its similarity to a big pine cone prompted English settlers to refer to it with the name they usually reserved for that fruit.
Eventually, the name stuck, and the compound “pine cone” had to be invented in the 1690s to refer to the pine fruit, which had been cruelly robbed of its name.

The name most other languages use to refer to the pineapple, “ananas”, comes from a South American language (either Tupi or Guaranì, we’re not sure). The original word was “nanas”. The “a” is actually the Portuguese definite article that got stuck there when the word was transferred to other languages.

No matter what you call it though, we can all agree that pineapple is delicious, especially in cocktails.

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