One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small bitter black cherry, the fruit of a variety of the gean, Prunus avium; the tree that bears this fruit.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Charles Cotton (1630–1687), poet and translator. From French merise, probably aphetic from an unattested form *amerise, blend of amer bitter and cerise cherry; compare marasca.
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