1

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.

Adjective

fruitlike ‎(comparative more fruitlike, superlative most fruitlike)

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

(Wiktionary)

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

Adjective

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.

(Etymoline)

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

  • You could try fructuous. The meaning might be close enough for your purposes. – Mick Nov 24 '16 at 18:27
  • What kind of fruit did you have in mind? Would something like pear-shaped work? – 0xFEE1DEAD Nov 24 '16 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. – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 24 '16 at 18:34
  • 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. – aparente001 Nov 24 '16 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 '16 at 17:49
4

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? – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 24 '16 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 '16 at 22:55
  • That's not great for my setting but it's good anyway. – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 25 '16 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. – FumbleFingers Jul 12 '17 at 17:51
0

Fructiferous maybe? (Bearing or producing fruit, OED)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.