Is there a word for fruit-like that could be uttered by an aristocratic gentleman of the 18th Century in a club such as Boodle's without sounding anachronous or ill-befitting of his class?

Before anyone mentions it, I have looked at 'fruitlike', but, due to its lack of use pre-1850 (Ngrams) and the fact it is being corrected by my spell-checker due to its rarity, I am discounting it.


fruitlike ‎(comparative more fruitlike, superlative most fruitlike)

  1. Resembling fruit.
    • The chewing gum had a fruitlike fragrance.


I have also looked at fruity but, in my setting, it seems slightly out-of-place, despite it being used at the time†.


fruity ‎(comparative fruitier, superlative fruitiest)

  1. containing fruit or fruit flavouring
  2. similar to fruit or tasting of fruit
  3. (informal) mad, crazy
  4. (informal, derogatory, LGBT, of a male) effeminate or otherwise flamboyant or homosexual
  5. (Britain, informal) sexually suggestive.
    • His text message was filled with fruity language.

The sentence into which my word needs to fit is as follows:

By George! doesn't that painting render his head so dreadfully [fruity]

† It was used at the time, but I am unsure as to with which meaning; № 3, 4, 5 would certainly not fit.

fruity (adj.)
1650s, from fruit + -y (2). Related: Fruitiness.


The example sentence doesn't need to be too rigid; if you can find a good word, don't let the sentence stop you!

  • What kind of fruit did you have in mind? Would something like pear-shaped work?
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Nov 24, 2016 at 18:28
  • @0xFEE1DEAD Any sort of fruit is acceptable, but pear-shaped wouldn't work as it is too specific, I would prefer it to cover all fruit. Nov 24, 2016 at 18:34
  • So you're saying the character depicted in the painting has a fruity head? And your not using definitions 3-5? I'm having a hard time envisioning the context
    – Stu W
    Nov 24, 2016 at 18:44
  • 1
    ... Miss Jenkyns and Miss Matty used to rise up, possess themselves each of an orange in silence, and withdraw to the privacy of their own rooms to indulge in sucking oranges.” That was published in 1851. Oranges were a special treat. A century earlier, I doubt anyone was eating any tropical fruit in the British Isles yet. So we need to figure out what fruit they were eating. I will guess: apples, pears, quinces, plums, maybe strawberries -- not sure, berries. I think there is an adjective that means like an apple, starts with pomm. Nov 24, 2016 at 23:58
  • 1
    Is there some reason why you cannot use a descriptive propositional phrase instead of an adjective here? So for example, “The chewing gum had the fragrance of fruit.” That seems more authentic to the period than pulling out some abstruse term unknown or at least unused by most native speakers.
    – tchrist
    Nov 27, 2016 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


Fructiform appears to exist as an obscure word for "having the form of a fruit" Merriam-Webster. My Collins dictionary doesn't list it, and I can't find any further details of how long it has been in use.

  • I like that! It has a rather frivolous air! Can you know any further use though? I have vaguely heard of it. Perhaps Ngrams can tell us something? Nov 24, 2016 at 22:21
  • @BladorthinTheGrey I couldn't get anything out of ngram. Google books shows a few examples from the early 19th century, but none from the 18th.
    – Simon B
    Nov 24, 2016 at 22:55
  • That's not great for my setting but it's good anyway. Nov 25, 2016 at 6:54
  • 1
    From the full OED: fructiform - Having the form of a fruit. Theor first (and only! :) citation is 1816 Sir J. Sinclair in Monthly Mag. XLII. 298 The fructiform productions which were found upon the same stalks often remained fixed together. Jul 12, 2017 at 17:51

Fructiferous maybe? (Bearing or producing fruit, OED)

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