Definition of gooseberry in English:


Line breaks: goose|berry
Pronunciation: /ˈgʊzb(ə)ri
, ˈguːs-/

noun (plural gooseberries)

  • 1A round edible yellowish-green or reddish berry with a thin translucent hairy skin.
    More example sentences
    • Apples, crab apples, gooseberries, and some plums and grapes usually contain enough natural pectin to form a gel.
    • Outdoor-grown rhubarb is the only indigenous fruit till the gooseberries and very early strawberries show their faces next month.
    • ‘Josta’ berry takes the looks of a gooseberry, removes the thorns, and makes it sweeter.
  • 2The thorny European shrub which bears gooseberries.
    • Ribes grossularia, family Grossulariaceae
    More example sentences
    • Every time my gooseberry bush starts to bear fruit, it develops a fungus.
    • There were figs, walnuts, mulberries, apples, pears, damsons, gooseberries, elderberries, raspberries - and chickens, which we had inherited from the previous owners.
    • To the rear of Old Hall is a large walled garden that has lawns and a variety of plants and shrubs, as well as strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, plum and apple trees.
  • 3British informal A third person in the company of two people, especially lovers, who would prefer to be alone: they didn’t want me playing gooseberry on their first date
    [from gooseberry-picker, referring to an activity used as a pretext for the lovers to be together]
    More example sentences
    • I was playing gooseberry at Sunday lunch in Dunbrody House, Wexford.
    • I stayed for the next two days, but seeing Beth and Steve together made me feel a bit of a gooseberry.


mid 16th century: the first element perhaps from goose, or perhaps based on Old French groseille, altered because of an unexplained association with the bird.

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