[kur-uh nt, kuhr-]
  1. a small seedless raisin, produced chiefly in California and in the Levant, and used in cookery and confectionery.
  2. the small, edible, acid, round fruit or berry of certain wild or cultivated shrubs of the genus Ribes.
  3. the shrub itself.
  4. any of various similar fruits or shrubs.

Origin of currant

1300–50; shortened from Middle English raysons of Coraunte raisins of Corinth, the port in Greece from which they orig. came
Can be confusedcurrant current (see synonym study at current) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for currant


  1. a small dried seedless grape of the Mediterranean region, used in cooking
  2. any of several mainly N temperate shrubs of the genus Ribes, esp R. rubrum (redcurrant) and R. nigrum (blackcurrant): family GrossulariaceaeSee also gooseberry (def. 1)
  3. the small acid fruit of any of these plants

Word Origin for currant

C16: shortened from rayson of Corannte raisin of Corinth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for currant

c.1500, from raysyn of Curans (mid-14c.) "raisins of Corinth," with the -s- mistaken for a plural inflection. From Anglo-French reisin de Corauntz. The small, seedless raisins were exported from southern Greece. Then in 1570s the word was applied to an unrelated Northern European berry (genus Ribes), recently introduced in England, on its resemblance to the raisins.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper