Printable Version
Pronunciation: drup Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A stone-fruit, a fruit covered with a thin skin, holding a fleshy middle, enclosing a single hard nut or seed in the middle, like a cherry, peach, or plum.

Notes: Here is a word not to be confused with the verb droop even though they are homophones (pronounced identically) and is accepted as an alternate spelling of the verb by the Oxford dictionary (OED). Its diminutive, drupelet, has gone off and assumed a different meaning, "one of the parts of an aggregate fruit, such as a raspberry of blackberry.

In Play: I had often wondered why maraschino cherries tasted like almond extract until I opened a ripened almond, another drupe, that had just fallen off the tree, took out the pit, cracked it open and tasted its contents, a fresh almond. Otherwise, you will meet this word in descriptions of fruit: "From the bosom of each leaf rises a single oblong drupe with a large kernal and thin pulp."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from Modern Latin drupa "stone-fruit", which meant in Classical Latin "wrinkled olive". Latin borrowed its word from Greek dryppa, a reduction of drypepes "tree-ripened", comprising thw roota od drys "tree" + pepon "ripe". Drys was created from PIE deru-/doru- "tree. Oak", source also of Sanskrit daru "wood", Greek (poetic) doru "tree" and regular drus "tree", Albanian dru "tree, wood", Serbian drvo "tree, wood", Russian derevo "tree", Slovak drevo "wood", Irish dair "oak", Welsh derw "oak", and English tree. Greek pepon came from PIE pekw-/pokw- "to cook, ripen", as found in Sanskrit pakvah "cooked, ripe", Greek peptein "to cook, ripen, digest", Latin coquere "to cook, ripen, digest", Russian peč', peku "to roast, I roast", Serbo-Croatian peć "stove, furnace, oven" and Lithuanian kepti "to bake". (Now an e-ovation for Susan Maynard, who suggested today's occasionally useful Good Word with the fascinating history.)

Dr. Goodword,

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