etymology – Did the English call a fruit “openærs” for 700 years?

This isn’t meant to be a solution. I simply grew to become so immersed within the matter, I needed to be taught extra in regards to the Anglo-Saxon title openærs, and its demise.

Previous English ‘openærs’

Arse wasn’t an rude phrase when it first arrived in English. It merely meant an animal’s rump, and we see it recorded in writing, from across the 12 months 1000, in every kind of straight-faced settings, akin to glossaries, poems and scholarly works.
The Story of English in 100 phrases By David Crystal

As Amphiteóth appropriately identified, the time period arse ‘was not at all times rude’, so a fruit referred to as openærs was fairly applicable ‘within the context of farming/searching’.

The French ‘medler’

Previous English is dated between mid-Fifth century and late 11th century, the language (like all modern-day language) was not a static rigid one. As a substitute it advanced, and went by a sequence of adjustments till its Anglo-Saxon id was now not recognizable, this transformation led consultants to call its successor Center English.

The Norman conquest in 1066 was answerable for most of the important adjustments that English endured within the following 300 years. French and Latin changed the Island’s native tongue and have become ‘de facto’ the official languages of authority, religion, science, legislation and the humanities. English discovered itself being the third language in its own residence.

It has been estimated as many as ten thousand French phrases had been imposed on Previous English. Though they didn’t all come directly, the relentless ‘onslaught’ of international phrases lasted till the 14th century, that’s till Center English started reappropriating its language.

Thus Norman got here into use as a language of well mannered discourse and literature, and this basically altered the function of Previous English in schooling and administration

As a result of language is initially spoken, and solely recorded later, the OED’s first reference of ears-lyre (arse-muscle) across the 12 months 1000, doesn’t imply the English weren’t utilizing the phrases ers and ærs earlier. As Josh61’s quotation seems to substantiate

This singular title [openærs] resisted for hundreds of years additionally after the introduction
of the French title within the 14th century.

The identical will also be stated for the French time period medler as @pisces talked about: The Oxford Dictionary says that the phrase medlar appeared in England with Center English, the phrase, in fact, may need been in circulation earlier than then.

Due to this fact it appears affordable to imagine that Englishmen and girls did name the rude-looking fruit, openærs, for hundreds of years and continued doing so after the Normans had invaded and renamed phrases that handled meals, consuming, and cooking. For instance:

in ‘salmon’ (from saumoun), in ‘mackerel (from mackerel) ‘oyster’ (from oistress), sole from sole; or in meat, ‘pork’ from (porc), ‘sausages’ (from saussiches), ‘bacon’ (from bacon); or in ‘fruit’ (from fruit), ‘oranges’ (orenges), and ‘lemons’ (limons), and even ‘grapes’ (grappes) … Fry from frire, ‘vinegar’ (from vyn egre), ‘herb’ (from herbe), ‘olive’ (olive), ‘mustard’ (from moustard) and, key to all of it, ‘urge for food’ from (apetit).

The French arrived, took the Anglo-Saxon title ‘openærs’; chewed it, ate it, and spat it out, changing it with their French names: medler, and mespile. By the 17th century the phrases ars and arse had been related to folks’s bottoms, so well mannered euphemisms akin to ‘bum’; ‘buttocks’; ‘bottom’; ‘behind’ and ‘posterior’ had been spawned. All of which finally led the archaic time period openærs to changing into out of date.

Bletting vs. Rotting

The clearest and least ambiguous description of bletting I discovered is at an internet store promoting a wide array of connoisseur meals.

So what precisely is bletting? Ripe fruits are harvested in late October and unfold on straw or sawdust someplace cool for a number of weeks. As soon as they’re within the first levels of decay, they’re prepared: the sugar content material of the fruit has elevated and the acids and tannins that make it bitter have lowered.
Ideally, the medlars are pulled from the tree simply after the primary exhausting frost of the winter. This kicks off the bletting course of.


Origin of open-arse (dialectal, British)

Center English openers, from Previous English openærs, from open + ærs, ears ass; from the big open disk between the lobes of the calyx

The Historic Thesaurus of English

openærs OE
medlar c1366–1858
mespile 1398–1545
medle a1400–1573
azarole 1658–

Thesaurus of Previous English

Medlar : openærs (g)
Medlar : æ_pening (o)
A medlar tree : mispeler (q)

An entity that opens : openere (o)
Publicity, revealing, revelation : opennes

Anus : ears
Anus : earsgang
Anus : earsþerl (og)

The house web page explains what the ‘flags’ imply

o– indicating {that a} phrase type may be very rare
p– indicating phrases that appear to happen solely in poetry
g– indicating phrases that often seem in glossed texts or glossaries
q– signifies a uncertain type however will not be searchable.

Wikipedia, Center English; The Adventures of English By Melvyn Bragg (2003)


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