Printable Version
Pronunciation: vin-deem-i-ayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To vintage (gather) grapes or pick other fruit.

Notes: Dr. Goodword vintaged this Good Word from the "English-Has-a-Word-for-Everything" basket. Although rarely used, it remains in the venerable Oxford English Dictionary and the U.S. classic Century Dictionary, among others more modern. A fruit gatherer is hence a vindemiator, and his or her vindemiatory activity is known (by some) as vindemiation.

In Play: Take me!In the fall, people leave European towns and cities to vindemiate through the vineyards and trample their gatherings into future wine. However, this word now applies to all fruit, not just grapes: "Seymour Pickens insists that he is a peregrine vindemiator, but he looks like a migrant fruit-picker at work in the fields." This is what I would do were I younger: "Sippie Weingarten vacations every autumn in Italy and spends most of her time vindemiating on a farm in Tuscany."

Word History: Today's Good Word was created from the past participle of Latin vindemiare "to gather grapes", derived from vinum "grape" + demere "to pick, remove". English inherited the same Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root that produced vinum as wine but borrowed the same word from French for good measure as vine (Modern French vin "wine"). The same original root emerged in Greek as oinos "wine", found in English oenology "study of wine", and Russian vinograd "grape(s)". Spanish and Italian preserve the original Latin word as vino today. The origin of the PIE word is a mystery with speculation running the gamut from Hebrew yayin to Ethiopian wain and on to Assyrian inu. While the hard evidence does not single out any one of these sources, we can be fairly sure that the PIE word originated somewhere in the Middle East.

Dr. Goodword,

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