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gooseberry fruit (Ribes uva-crispa)
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From goose +‎ berry. It is possible that the first element was originally something related to the gros- of French groseille and/or the kruis- of Dutch kruisbes but has been altered by folk etymology.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɡusˌbɛɹi/
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡʊzb(ə)ɹi/, /ˈɡuːsb(ə)ɹi/
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gooseberry (plural gooseberries)

  1. A fruit of species Ribes uva-crispa, related to the currant.
    Synonym: (UK informal) goosegog
    We had a good haul of gooseberries from our bushes this year.
  2. Any other plant or fruit in the subgenus Grossularia, distinguished from currants by bearing spines, including Ribes hirtellum (American gooseberry).
  3. Any of several other plants that are not closely related but bear fruit in some way similar:
    1. Chinese gooseberry or kiwifruit, the edible berry of a cultivar group of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa and hybrids between this and other species in the genus Actinidia
    2. Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica), emblic, amla.
    3. Ceylon gooseberry, a species of Dovyalis native to Sri Lanka and southern India
    4. Barbados gooseberry (Pereskia aculeata), an unusual cactus
    5. Long Key locustberry or shiny locustberry (Byrsonima lucida)
    6. Jamaican gooseberry tree (Phyllanthus acuminatus), a herb-like plant
    7. star gooseberry
      1. Otaheite gooseberry (Phyllanthus acidus)
      2. Katuk (Sauropus androgynus), a shrub grown in some tropical regions as a leaf vegetable
    8. Physalis angulata, also called balloon cherry and cutleaf groundcherry
    9. Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana), indigenous to South America
    10. poison gooseberry (Withania somnifera)
  4. (dated, British slang) A chaperone.[1]
  5. (chiefly British) An additional person who is neither necessary nor wanted in a given situation.
    Synonyms: third wheel, fifth wheel
    Robert and Susan were so in love with each other that nobody could go near them without feeling like a gooseberry.
  6. (dated, British slang) A fool.[1]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:fool
  7. (dated, British slang) A fantastic story; a tall tale; a hoax.[1][2]
  8. (dated, British slang, vulgar, usually in the plural) A testicle.[1]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:testicles

Derived terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 John S[tephen] Farmer; W[illiam] E[rnest] Henley, compilers (1893) “gooseberry”, in Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present. [], volume III, [London: [] Harrison and Sons] [], →OCLC, pages 182–184.
  2. ^ Albert Barrère and Charles G[odfrey] Leland, compilers and editors (1889–1890) “gooseberry”, in A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant [], volumes I (A–K), Edinburgh: [] The Ballantyne Press, →OCLC, page 419.