[goos-ber-ee, -buh-ree, gooz-]
noun, plural goose·ber·ries.
  1. the edible, acid, globular, sometimes spiny fruit of certain prickly shrubs belonging to the genus Ribes, of the saxifrage family, especially R. uva-crispa (or R. grossularia).
  2. a shrub bearing this fruit.

Origin of gooseberry

First recorded in 1525–35; goose + berry Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gooseberry

Contemporary Examples of gooseberry

Historical Examples of gooseberry

  • Then a cat shot from under a gooseberry bush, and she gave a little scream.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Down the middle of the garden was a row of gooseberry and currant bushes.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • Preserved fruit was served with the fish, and gooseberry jam with the roast.

    A Royal Prisoner

    Pierre Souvestre

  • “You are not to go into the gooseberry garden,” said the aunt, changing the subject.

  • She gave me a doughnut and a piece of cheese as well as a gooseberry tart.

    Rebecca's Promise

    Frances R. Sterrett

British Dictionary definitions for gooseberry


noun plural -ries
  1. a Eurasian shrub, Ribes uva-crispa (or R. grossularia), having greenish, purple-tinged flowers and ovoid yellow-green or red-purple berries: family GrossulariaceaeSee also currant (def. 2)
    1. the berry of this plant
    2. (as modifier)gooseberry jam
  2. British informal an unwanted single person in a group of couples, esp a third person with a couple (often in the phrase play gooseberry)
  3. Cape gooseberry a tropical American solanaceous plant, Physalis peruviana, naturalized in southern Africa, having yellow flowers and edible yellow berriesSee also ground cherry
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 gooseberry

1530s, perhaps from German Krausebeere or Kräuselbeere, related to Middle Dutch croesel "gooseberry," and to German kraus "crispy, curly" [Klein, etc.]. Under this theory, gooseberry would be folk etymology. But OED editors find no reason to prefer this to a literal reading, because "the grounds on which plants and fruits have received names associating them with animals are so commonly inexplicable, that the want of appropriateness in the meaning affords no sufficient ground for assuming that the word is an etymological corruption."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper