In this post, we will compare the English names, that include “-berry”, with the names in other languages. Surely, it will be berry interesting!

Berries are small, juicy, and colorful fruits that grow on various plants. The word comes from Proto-Germanic bazją. It is a problematic term to translate for several reasons: First, berry is just not an easily translatable term; currants, despite not having the ending -berry, are berries. Second, commonly, berries refer to a specific type of fruit like blueberries and cranberries. However, scientifically, a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. It does not include blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries but may include fruits, like grapes, bananas, or tomatoes, which people do not consider berries.


Etymology map of the word "berry" in several European languages
Small but not irrelevant


Etymology map of the word "blackberry" in several European languages
Dark-colored berries or the berries of hedgehogs and bears

Blackberries are the fruits of various species within the Rubus genus. They hold intriguing associations with animals in some cultures. In English combines the words black and berry, because of its dark-colored drupelets. Similarly, in Slovak, they say černica, stemming from čierny, meaning “black.” In Kazakh, people know them as Қара бүлдірген, which translates to “black strawberry.”

Across various languages, blackberries are linked to animals. In the northern regions, they are commonly known as “Bearberries” (in English this name describes something different). Latvians associate them with goats, and Lithuanians connect them to cranes. Among Slavic people, there are two distinct perspectives: on the northern side the name derives from the word “hedgehog”, while the southern side comes, not from any animal, but from “hill”.

Let’s now explore the genuine dark aspects of this map. Romance languages have borrowed the term “morum” from Latin, signifying both “blackberry” and “mulberry” (as evident in the section below). Within this language group, there will arise instances where distinguishing between the two will be essential.


Etymology map of the word "mulberry" (genus morus) in several European languages
In the Greek-Persian war, silkworms are neutral


Etymology map of the word "blueberry" (vaccinium myrtillus) in several European languages
Blue, black, and bla, bla, bla…


Etymology map of "Raspberry" (Rubus idaeus) in different languages
Not to be confused so often


Etymology map of "Strawberry" (fragaria x ananassa and their silvester species) in different languages
Growing across the ground

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