Taking a look at the following table, do you notice anything strange?

pineapple & ananas

‘Pineapple’, the English name for the tropical plant & fruit Ananas is completely different from the rest of the languages listed in the table.

According to Wikipedia, “the word ‘pineapple’ in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed ‘pine cones’).” When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit in South America, they called it ‘pineapple’ due to resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone.

The pineapple is the leading edible member of the family Bromeliaceae. Now known botanically as Ananas comosus, the fruit has acquired few vernacular names. It is widely called piña (‘pine cone’), or ananá by Spanish-speaking people (example, the piña colada drink), abacaxi in Brazilian and ananás in Portuguese, ananas by the Dutch and French and the people of former French and Dutch colonies; nanas in southern Asia and the East Indies. In China, it is po-lo-mah; sometimes in Jamaica, ‘sweet pine’; in Guatemala often merely ‘pine’. (Source: the NewCROP website)

But where does the original name ‘ananas’ come from?

Native to southern Brazil and Paraguay, the pineapple was apparently domesticated by the Indians and carried by them up through South and Central America to Mexico and the West Indies long before the arrival of Europeans. (Source: the NewCROP website)

Its etymology could be derived “either directly from Old Tupi [1] nanas (‘excellent fruit’), or from the taxonomic name thence derived, Ananassa sativa / Ananas comosus, likely under the influence of the many other languages which use the Old Tupi-derived designationananas for the fruit.” (See Wikipedia)

A recent European survey by OneEurope shows how much “Europeans agree on pineapplevs ananas”… Just take a look!

pineapple vs ananas

[1] The Tupi or Tupian language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi proper and Guaraní.

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