sher·bet (shûr’bĭt)
n. 1) also sher·bert (-bûrt′) A frozen dessert made mainly of fruit juice or fruit purée, usually with sugar and milk or cream. 2) Chiefly British A usually fruit-flavored effervescent powder, eaten as candy or made into a drink. 3) also sherbert Australian An alcoholic beverage, especially beer.
[Ottoman Turkish, sweet fruit drink, from Persian šarbat, from Arabic šarba, drink, from šariba, to drink; see śrb.]
Word History: Although the word sherbet has been in English for several centuries, it has not always referred to what we now normally think of as sherbet. Sherbet came into English from Ottoman Turkish šerbet (Modern Turkish şerbet) and Persian šarbat, words referring to a traditional Middle Eastern beverage of sweetened, diluted fruit syrup or juice. The Turkish word is borrowed from Persian, and the Persian word comes from Arabic šarba, "drink." (The -t at the end of the Turkish and Persian words, by the way, comes from the non-pausal pronunciation of the Arabic word šarba. Before a pause or at the end of a sentence in Arabic, the feminine noun ending -t is dropped. When used within a sentence, or when a possessive suffix is added to a word, however, the final -t ending remains, as for example in šarbatī, "my drink.") The Middle Eastern drink began to be imitated in Western Europe in the 1500s, and the word sherbet is first attested in English at the very beginning of the 1600s and was probably known even earlier. In English, during the 1800s, sherbet came to be used to refer to a fizzy sweet drink made with an effervescent flavoring powder, and nowadays in British English, sherbet usually refers to a kind of candy, a fizzy flavored powder eaten by dipping a finger into a packet. Because the original Middle Eastern drink contained fruit and was often cooled with snow or shaved ice, sherbet also came to denote a kind of frozen dessert. Current American usage maintains a distinction in meaning between the words sherbet and sorbet—sherbets tend to contain milk or extra binding ingredients and closely resemble ice cream, while sorbets tend to be lighter, often consisting simply of ice and fruit juice or liqueur. This distinction, however, was not so clear-cut in the past, when sherbet covered a wider variety of cooling drinks and desserts than it most often does today. The word sorbet first appears in English in the 1500s and is a borrowing of French sorbet, itself a borrowing of Italian sorbetto. The Italian word comes from the same Ottoman Turkish šerbet that gave us sherbet.

Word Histories. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sherbet — Sher bet, n. [Ar. sherbet, shorbet, sharbat, properly, one drink or sip, a draught, beverage, from shariba to drink. Cf. {Sorbet}, {Sirup}, {Shrub} a drink.] 1. A refreshing drink, common in the East, made of the juice of some fruit, diluted,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sherbet — (n.) c.1600, zerbet, drink made from diluted fruit juice and sugar, from Turk. serbet, from Pers. sharbat, from Arabic sharba(t) a drink, from shariba he drank. Related to SYRUP (Cf. syrup) …   Etymology dictionary

  • sherbet — ► NOUN 1) Brit. a flavoured sweet fizzing powder eaten alone or made into a drink. 2) (especially in Arab countries) a drink of sweet diluted fruit juices. 3) N. Amer. water ice; sorbet. 4) Austral. humorous beer. ORIGIN Arabic, drink ; related… …   English terms dictionary

  • sherbet — or sherbert [shʉr′bərtshʉr′bət] n. [Turk ṣerbet < Ar sharba(t), a drink, var. of sharāb: see SYRUP] 1. Brit. a beverage, originally from Asia, made of watered fruit juice and sugar and served cold 2. a frozen dessert like an ice but with… …   English World dictionary

  • Sherbet — Şerbet (Turkish) (Soda powder; Etymology: Turkish Persian; Turkish şerbet, from Persian Urdu شربت,Hindi sharbat, from Arabic sharba drink) (British and American English) historically was a cool effervescent or iced fruit soft drink. The meaning,… …   Wikipedia

  • sherbet — [[t]ʃɜ͟ː(r)bət[/t]] sherbets 1) N UNCOUNT: oft N n Sherbet is a sweet dry powder that tastes fizzy and is eaten as a sweet. [BRIT] ...sherbet dips. 2) N VAR Sherbet is like ice cream but made with fruit juice, sugar, and water. [AM] ...lemon… …   English dictionary

  • sherbet — /sherr bit/, n. 1. a frozen fruit flavored mixture, similar to an ice, but with milk, egg white, or gelatin added. 2. Brit. a drink made of sweetened fruit juice diluted with water and ice. 3. a frozen fruit or vegetable purée, served either… …   Universalium

  • sherbet — [17] Like syrup, sherbet goes back ultimately to the Arabic verb shariba ‘drink’, whose initial /shr/ sound was originally imitative of the sound of noisy drinking or slurping. From it was derived the noun sharbah, whose plural sharbāt passed… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • sherbet — [17] Like syrup, sherbet goes back ultimately to the Arabic verb shariba ‘drink’, whose initial /shr/ sound was originally imitative of the sound of noisy drinking or slurping. From it was derived the noun sharbah, whose plural sharbāt passed… …   Word origins

  • sherbet — UK [ˈʃɜː(r)bət] / US [ˈʃɜrbət] noun Word forms sherbet : singular sherbet plural sherbets 1) [uncountable] British powder with a fizzy taste that is eaten as a sweet 2) [countable/uncountable] American a sorbet …   English dictionary

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