How do strawberries get their name?!


How do strawberries get their name?

The name is derived from Old English strēawberi?e which is a compound of streaw meaning "straw" and berige meaning "berry". The reason for this is unclear. It may derive from the strawlike appearance of the runners, or from an obsolete denotation of straw, meaning "chaff", referring to the scattered appearance of the achenes.

Interestingly, in other Germanic countries there is a tradition of collecting wild strawberries by threading them on straws. In those countries people find straw-berry to be an easy word to learn considering their association with straws. (In fact, in almost all other Germanic languages besides English, the name of the fruit corresponds to "Earth-Berry", so this claim is dubious.)

There is an alternative theory that the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon verb for "strew" (meaning to spread around) which was streabergen (Strea means "strew" and Bergen means "berry" or "fruit") and thence to streberie, straiberie, strauberie, straubery, strauberry, and finally, "strawberry", the word which we use today. The name might have come from the fact that the fruit and various runners appear "strewn" along the ground.

Popular etymology has it that it comes from gardeners' practice of mulching strawberries with straw to protect the fruits from rot (a pseudoetymology that can be found in non-linguistic sources such as the Old Farmer's Almanac 2005). However, there is no evidence that the Anglo-Saxons ever grew strawberries, and even less that they knew of this practice.

Hope this helps! =)

JGG has a good answer but do you think he's a bit of a geek????

There are many explanations about how this luscious fruit became known as the strawberry. The most common is that children in England during the nineteenth century threaded the berries onto straw and offered them for sale. Another theory is the name was derived from the nineteenth-century practice of placing straw around the growing berry plants to protect the ripening fruit.
The explanation which is widely thought to be correct is that the name originated a thousand years ago because of the plant's production of runners which spread outward from the plant. Thus, the word strawberry was derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb to strew (spread) and so the fruit became known as streabergan to the Anglo-Saxons and later, straberry, streberie, straibery, strauberry, and finally strawberry to the English.

I always thought it was because you laid straw round them when they were growing!!

I wonder if it is anything to do with the fact that straw is good to put round the base of the plants.. to stop slugs and others from eating it?!

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