A raspberry can be one of two things.
First and foremost, a raspberry is a small red, black or yellow fruit which grows on a bramble or vine-like style of bush, and which generally tastes delicious.
In English, the word raspberry goes back to the early 1600s, but its actual origins are a matter of contention: it could have come from Old French, Medieval Latin, or one of the Germanic languages.
The second sense of the word raspberry dates to the late 19th century, and relates to the rude sound made with one’s tongue and lips. This meaning is derived from ‘raspberry tart’, which is rhyming slang for ‘fart’, which is precisely what a raspberry sounds like.
Blowing a raspberry is also called a Bronx cheer, a term which came from the sound being used to express derision or displeasure during sporting matches in the area of New York City called the Bronx.
In linguistic terms, blowing a raspberry is an unvoiced labial fricative. This may seem like somewhat useless information for anyone other than linguists and language enthusiasts, but rude children can be quite effectively stunned into submission with reprimands such as “Don’t you dare address me with your unvoiced labial fricatives!” I know this, because I have achieved it more than once with other people’s teenagers.
This term has also been immortalised in the Golden Raspeberry Awards or Razzies, a parody of the Oscars in which the awards are given for terrible performances in film.
Finally, raspberry is also used as an adjective to describe any shade of purplish red colour, as referenced by Prince in Raspberry Beret. You don’t need to thank me for the earworm – you’re welcome!
#words #language #blog