The French idiom mi figue, mi raisin means half fig, half grape and refers to something that is neither entirely good nor entirely bad.  But wait! Shouldn’t mi figue, mi raisin mean half fig and half raisin?  Actually, raisin in French means grape and raisin sec means raisin.  If that’s not confusing enough the English once called the grape winberige “wine berry”, but then adopted grape which has German origins meaning hook (having to do with the process of harvesting the grapes).  Grappa and grapa are Italian and Spanish words for grape and also have German origins.  Our word grapple is related to grape.  Archaically, grapple meant seize or hold with a grapnel.  A grapnel once was meant to pluck grapes, but in modern times is shot from Batman’s grapnel gun which allows him to fling himself from building to building.

If you know why we say raisin in English instead of dry raisin like the French let me know!


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