Why is "pineapple" in English but "ananas" in all other languages?
Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on the Leeward island of Guadeloupe. He called it piña de Indes, meaning "pine of the Indians", and brought it back with him to Europe, thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to leave the New World.
(Actually, this probably isn't quite right ... since piña also means pinecone in Spanish, and since pineapples look nothing like pine trees but quite a bit like pinecones, the meaning was undoubtedly "pinecone of the Indians".)
The question is: why did the English adapt the name pineapple from Spanish (which originally meant pinecone in English) while most European countries eventually adapted the name ananas, which came from the Tupi word nanas (also meaning pineapple).
This is pure speculation, but it may have to do with the fact that there were English colonies in the New World, and these had lots of trade with the Caribbean. If the fruit was called by one name in the Caribbean and a different name in Spain, the English could easily have ended up using the Caribbean name, while the rest of Europe used the Spanish name.
When European (English) explorers discovered them they called them pineapples because of their resemblance to pine cones from conifer trees.
The word "pineapple" in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). The term "pine cone" for the reproductive organ of conifer trees was first recorded in 1694. When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit in the Americas, they called them "pineapples" (first so referenced in 1664 due to resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone). In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi word nanas, meaning "excellent fruit", as recorded by André Thevet in 1555, and comosus, "tufted", refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called "pine", as well, in other languages. In Spanish, pineapples are called piña ("pine cone"), or ananá (ananás) (example, the piña colada drink). (Wikipedia)
Never believe everything you read on the internet. That list is hand-picked in order to try to prove a point. While it's true that most European languages use some variant of "ananas", it is far from the truth to claim that English is the only one to use "pineapple", or that there is not a lot of variation in the terms that are used.
Here is an incomplete list I compiled from Google Translate:
Language Word for "pineapple" Pronunuciation (according to Google) -------- -------------------- -------------- Afrikaans pynappel Armenian արքայախնձոր ark’ayakhndzor Catalan pinya Chichewa chinanazi Chinese 菠萝 Bōluó Filipino pinya Frisian pineappel Galician piña Hausa abarba Igbo afiapulu Japanese パイナップル Painappuru Khmer ម្នាស់ mneasa Korean (not allowed by SE) pain-aepeul Kurdish sifir Lao ຫມາກນັດ maknad Malayalam പൈനാപ്പിൾ paināppiḷ Maori Tuhinga o mua Mongolian хан боргоцой khan borgotsoi Myanmar (Burmese) နာနတ်ပင် nar naat pain Portuguese (pt-BR) abacaxi Sesotho phaphaenapole Shona chinanai Telugu పైనాపిల్ Paināpil Thai สับปะรด S̄ạbpard Vietnamese dứa Welsh pîn-afal Xhosa iphayinaphu Yoruba ope oyinbo Zulu iphayinaphu
So I could just as easily ask
Why is it ananas in French, but pineapple in "all" other languages?Language Word for "pineapple" Pronunuciation (according to Google) -------- -------------------- -------------- Afrikaans pynappel Catalan pinya English pineapple Filipino pinya French **ananas** Frisian pineappel Galician piña Japanese パイナップル Painappuru Korean (not allowed by SE) pain-aepeul Malayalam പൈനാപ്പിൾ paināppiḷ Sesotho phaphaenapole Telugu పైనాపిల్ Paināpil Welsh pîn-afal Xhosa iphayinaphu Zulu iphayinaphu
Interestingly several late mentions have both terms
"I was thinking on the man to whom we are in a great measure obliged for the production and culture of the exotic, we were speaking of, in this kingdom; Sir Matthew Decker;the first ananas or pine-apple, that was brought to perfection in England, grew in his garden at Richmond." Bernard de Mandeville: The Fable of Bees (1733)
and Th Baldwin: Short Practical Directions For The Culture Of The Ananas; Or Pine Apple Plant (1813)
There is also the variant anana, eg in Th F Gordon (1831) the History of America: "The Anana, or Pine Apple"
It seems both terms, and to a lesser extent 'anana' might have been current at least in the early part of the 19th century.
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