One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small bushy tree of the rose family.
Mespilus germanica, family Rosaceae
- ‘The largest is a cherry tree, which is pruned to keep it in check, and there are vines, peaches, medlar and mulberry bushes to provide fruit.’
- 1.1 The small brown apple-like fruit of the medlar, which is only edible after it has begun to decay.
- ‘There were medlars, and apples, and quinces, and cherries, and I think many more that I could not name by their bark or tiny fruit.’
- ‘There are plenty of colourful fruits about, including dessert, culinary and crab apples, pears and medlars.’
- ‘In the back are pots containing a fruit paradise of quinces, medlars, lemons, pomegranates, citrons, even a limequat that apparently makes a mean marmalade.’
- ‘Apples and pears and medlars hang heavy upon the boughs.’
- ‘Fruits include the indigenous melons, grapes, mulberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and pomegranates, as well as medlars, persimmons, oranges, melons, and sweet lemons.’
Late Middle English: from Old French medler, from medle ‘medlar fruit’, from Latin mespila, from Greek mespilē, mespilon.
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