Widely assumed to be a marketing term from grape + fruit, an allusion to the supposed grapelike clusters of fruit on the tree, early 19th c. Ciardi proposes another theory: one of the pummelo's botanical names is Citrus grandis, meaning "great citrus [fruit]", due to the size of its fruit. A new pummelo variety might first have been called a "greatfruit", and through the process of assimilation, the word came to be pronounced "grapefruit".
grapefruit (plural grapefruits or grapefruit)
- “Report of the Secretary–the pomelo”, in Appendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the twenty-first Session of the Legislature of the State of California, volume V, Sacramento, 1895, page 65:
- The pomelo is now marketed under the name “grape-fruit,” which is a misnomer. This is confusing and misleading. The name “grape-fruit” was given to this fruit in Florida, as it hangs on trees in clusters resembling the grape, but has no relation to it whatever. Growers and shippers should drop the name “grape-fruit” and apply to it the name pomelo, which is popular, and botanically correct.
- Hyphenation: grape‧fruit