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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various deciduous, spineless shrubs of the genus Ribes, native chiefly to the Northern Hemisphere and having flowers in racemes and edible, variously colored berries.
  • n. The fruits of any of these plants, used for jams, jellies, desserts, or beverages.
  • n. A small seedless raisin of the Mediterranean region, used chiefly in baking.
  • n. Any of several other plants or their fruit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small dried grape, usually the Black Corinth grape, rarely more than 4mm diameter when dried.
  • n. The fruit of various shrubs of the genus Ribes, either white, black or red.
  • n. A shrub bearing such fruit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small kind of seedless raisin, imported from the Levant, chiefly from Zante and Cephalonia; -- used in cookery.
  • n. The acid fruit or berry of the Ribes rubrum or common red currant, or of its variety, the white currant.
  • n. A shrub or bush of several species of the genus Ribes (a genus also including the gooseberry); esp., the Ribes rubrum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An obsolete spelling of current and courant.
  • n. A very small kind of raisin or dried grape imported from the Levant, chiefly from Zante and Cephalonia, and used in cookery.
  • n. The small round fruit (a berry) of several species of Ribes, natural order Saxifragaceæ; the plant producing this fruit: so called because the berries resemble in size the small grapes from the Levant.
  • n. In Australia and Tasmania, a species of Leucopogon, especially
  • n. A name for various melastomaceous species of tropical America, bearing edible berries, especially of the genera

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of several tart red or black berries used primarily for jellies and jams
  • n. any of various deciduous shrubs of the genus Ribes bearing currants
  • n. small dried seedless raisin grown in the Mediterranean region and California; used in cooking


From Middle English (raysons of) coraunte, (raisins of) Corinth, currants, from Anglo-Norman (raisins de) Corauntz, from Latin Corinthus, Corinth, from Greek Korinthos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French raisins de Corinthe, raisins (grapes?) of Corinth, the city in Greece. (Wiktionary)



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  • Yesterday my Latvian neighbor called them Saint John's Day berries.

    July 2, 2013

  • My childhood backyard was home to more than 20 varieties of fruit. Currants are so much fun to pick and eat, even if the ladder is so rickety you fear for your life :D

    July 22, 2009

  • Oh I see...thanks skip!

    July 22, 2009

  • Me too, pleth, and I've never done it.
    *pining for the fjords*

    July 21, 2009

  • *le sigh*
    I miss picking blackcurrants in summer.

    July 21, 2009

  • Skip, that's a lovely picture. :)

    July 21, 2009

  • They're wild currants. They grow all over in interior Alaska. As to the difference, it may be largely semantic. Check this article from Wikipedia. The ones pictured are redcurrant berries.

    July 21, 2009

  • Wow, you can grow those in your garden? But I'm confused, what's the difference between grapes and currants?

    July 21, 2009

  • Yum! Wonderful!

    July 21, 2009

  • A photo (20-Jul-09) of some currants from my back yard.

    July 21, 2009

  • No clue c_b. It was a delightful discovery. Thanks, groqqa.

    July 18, 2009

  • Currant was still used to refer to raisins (there may have been a subtle difference) by some people of my parents' generation when I was a child. The fresh fruits were blackcurrants or redcurrants, never just currants.

    July 18, 2009

  • Did you know they are named after Corinth, skip?

    July 18, 2009

  • For some reason this post just made my day--maybe because I'm looking out over the wild currants growing in my back yard. We make jelly from them.

    I love Wordie...

    July 17, 2009

  • That's fascinating. I had no idea. Currants are not hugely popular in the U.S. (at least with my homeys) but I don't really know why.

    July 17, 2009

  • The name is from Corinth in Greece, and these were originally the dried grapes, and first called raisins of Corinth. In the sixteenth century the name was misapplied to the newly-introduced red and black kin of gooseberries. I am eating redcurrants as I type.

    July 17, 2009