WARNING: Jus de raisin!

Now I know that the younger audience can only dream of the day they get to drink wine, being far too young to imbibe the grape just yet. But as a neat lesson in French this sign took me only a moment with my appalling fail-level French to decipher.


Yes – it’s grape juice on the road! Yes – it’s grape harvesting time, and indeed the danger of slipping on grape juice on French roads must be at an all time high! It certinly amused me, even if it has a serious note. But, you may wonder, why is the word raisin and not grape? Raisins are those dried things, aren’t they?

Well the origin of the word raisin has a botanical root. It comes from the word raceme. Excuse me *adjusts* I’m going to geek out now (being a former horticulturalist).


So, what’s a raceme, Lis? Well I’m glad you asked!

A raceme is a flower form (inflorescence) where the flowers are on short stems (pedicels) from the main stem – like so:



Are you excited? I know I am. πŸ™‚

Now, you might ask, where did the word ‘raceme’ come from? Well, in typical language circular logic it goes right back to…


A cluster of grapes. So grape is raisin because it’s a raceme, which is called a raceme because it’s a bunch of grapes. Did you get that? Good – there’ll be a short test later. πŸ˜‰

Oh and I have to add a real What the…? moment. Take a look at the two dictionary definitions. First one claims raisin’s origin is raceme, from 1350’s, and the second one claims the origin of raceme is 1775. Excuse me? πŸ™‚

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin – your voice coach



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