The word pomegranate has fantastic and metaphoric origins. Originally spelled poumgarnet, this is a combination of two French words, pome grenate. That phrase, however, goes back to Latin as a whole, as pomum granatum, or "apple with many seeds", which is basically what a pomegranate is. But the plot thickens. Pomum ("apple") is from the Proto-Italic word poomos, which meant "fruit" in general and is said to be from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European word hpoem, "to take off", since a "fruit" is "taken off" a tree. The granatum part of pomum granatum meant "having seeds", and that goes back to the earlier Latin word grenate, meaning "having grains", since grains have seeds. This is a conjugated form of granum, or "grain" in general, which in turn goes to the Proto-Indo-European root greno, the source of everything from the Slavic to Germanic words for "grain". Anyway, etymologically speaking, we can see that pomegranate truly means "to take off grain".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.