Word of the Day : June 10, 2012


noun VER-jooss


: the sour juice of crab apples or of unripe fruit; also : an acid liquor made from verjuice


"The other women took to their Bibles and hymn-books, and looked as sour as verjuice over their reading - a result, which I have observed, in my sphere of life, to follow generally on the performance of acts of piety at unaccustomed periods of the day." - From Wilkie Collins' 1868 novel The Moonstone

"Winter oregano makes a superb salad green, used lavishly with black olives, thinly sliced red onions, soaked in ice water for an hour if you want to remove some pungency, and dressed with olive oil and a touch of vinegar, salt and lemon juice, verjuice or vinegar." - From an article in the Canberra Times (Australia), May 6, 2012

Did You Know?

These days, verjuice is typically a tart, pale juice pressed from unripe white grapes, ideal for use in sauces and salad dressings. Verjuice has been around for centuries and is used in Dijon mustard, but the word (a descendant of Anglo-French "vert," meaning "green," and "jous," meaning "juice") has become somewhat uncommon - especially in American English - since its heyday in the early 19th century. (It's a bit more common in Australia.) In the past "verjuice" was also used with the meaning "acidity of disposition or manner" - a meaning hinted at in our first quote - but that sense is now only rarely encountered.

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "verjuice" can refer to a green or bluish deposit formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces? The answer is ...


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