huckleberry

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English[edit]

Vaccinium ovatum, known as evergreen huckleberry, winter huckleberry or California huckleberry
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Etymology[edit]

Probably an alteration of Middle English hurtilbery ‎(whortleberry). American English from 1660s.[1]

Noun[edit]

huckleberry ‎(plural huckleberries)

  1. A small round fruit of a dark blue or red color of several plants in the related genera Vaccinium and Gaylussacia.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
  2. A shrub growing this fruit.
  3. (idiomatic) A small amount, as in the phrase huckleberry above a persimmon.
  4. (slang) A person of little consequence.

Usage notes[edit]

While some Vaccinium species, such as Vaccinium parvifolium, the red huckleberry, are always called huckleberries, other species may be called blueberries or huckleberries depending upon local custom. Usually, the distinction between them is that blueberries are white on the inside in most cases compared to huckleberries which vary from red to purple inside with a couple dozen tiny seeds.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ huckleberry” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).