What Does ‘Plum’ Mean in English?

Unlock the multifaceted meanings of the word ‘plum’ in English. Expand your vocabulary from the simple fruit reference to its symbolic representations in phrases and color psychology. This piece explores the comprehensive perspective of ‘plum’ in the English language.

Definition and Origin of the Word ‘Plum’

The first layer of understanding the term ‘plum’ involves its most common usage – denoting a type of fruit. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a plum as a ‘soft round or oval fruit that is typically reddish-purple, contains a flattened pit, and can be eaten fresh or used in jam or desserts.’

Use of ‘Plum’ in Literary Context

In literature and vernacular expression, ‘plum’ often carries implications beyond just the fruit. For instance, it can refer to a highly desirable object, situation, or position, as in the phrase ‘plum job’. This usage stems from the desirable and valuable nature of the fruit itself, especially in historical contexts where fresh fruit was a luxury.

‘Plum’ as a Color Descriptor

Another common usage of the word ‘plum’ is to describe color. As a hue, plum is a deep, rich shade of purple. It finds widespread use in fashion, interior design, and other visual arts, often to evoke feelings of luxury, sophistication, and depth.

Plum in Idiomatic Expressions

Idiomatic expressions further widen the scope of ‘plum’ in the English language. Phrases like ‘falling plum’ and ‘plum in the mouth’ enrich the lexicon by illustrating different figurative meanings attached to this seemingly simple word.

  • ‘Falling plum’ signifies an unexpected good fortune or bonus.
  • ‘Plum in the mouth’ is a British idiomatic expression used to denote a person who speaks in a particularly posh or affected manner.


From a mere descriptor of a fruit, the term ‘plum’ has seen its significance expand with its usage in various literary and day-to-day communicative contexts. The versatility of the term ‘plum’ in English emphasizes the interesting ways vocabulary evolves, centered around everyday items and experiences, growing to encompass broader and richer meanings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *