The grape harvest is in full swing in Ontario, but if it weren't for a historical misunderstanding, the grape growers in Niagara would be harvesting raisins instead.
In French, the word raisin designates grapes collectively. A grappe (related to “grapple”) was a hook used for harvesting, and so a grappe de raisin was a “hookful” of grapes.
The English, who had little to do with this fruit before the French invaded, got confused, and thought that the word meaning “bunch” was the name of the fruit, and that's why we call them grapes. But we also cannily realized that keeping “raisin” allowed us to make a distinction between the fresh and the dried fruit.
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