Apple mousse

From Kyle Wohlmut on Facebook today under the header “Rate this translation”:

(#1) They spell French pamplemousse ‘grapefruit’ wrong and then treat it as if it were parsed as pomme ‘apple’ + mousse (referring to one of several foamy substances; see especially senses 1 and 2 in English, below, which are directly borrowed from French)

Inventive, but absurd, and totally off the mark. Prime-grade etymythology.

The actual etymology. (There is absolutely no reason why any speaker of French would need to know the history of the noun pamplemousse in order to use it — though they might be interested in the story of this very peculiar, and vaguely ridiculous, word as a matter of intellectual curiosity.)

In fact, the French is merely the rendition in French phonology of Dutch pampelmoes ‘big lemon’ (which does make sense) — the fruit having been introduced into Europe by the Dutch (through their colonial holdings).

The noun mousse. In English (only a tiny step away from French, at least in the first two senses), from NOAD:

noun mousse: 1 a sweet or savory dish made as a smooth light mass with whipped cream and beaten egg white, flavored with chocolate, fish, etc., and typically served chilled: roulade of sole with a lobster mousse | dark chocolate mousse. 2 [in singular] a mass of tiny bubbles that forms on the top of a glass of champagne or sparkling wine: the Brut Réserve possesses a wonderful creamy mousse of small, compact bubbles. 3 [a] a light, foamy preparation used for styling hair: apply a dollop of volumizing mousse to the roots and work it in towards the ends of your hair | experiment with different styling products such as mousses and gels. [b] a cosmetic or skincare product with a foamy consistency: fragrant shower mousse. 4 (also chocolate mousse) a brown frothy emulsion of oil and seawater formed by weathering of an oil slick. ORIGIN mid 19th century: from French, ‘moss or froth’. [so that these senses are metaphorical]

The album. From the Rate Your Music site on Le Pamplemousse (the RYM entry reproduced verbatim here):

(#1) The gender-fluid album cover of 1976

Le Pamplemousse – meaning “The Grapefruit” in French – was a faceless disco ensemble by producers Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis on AVI Records. No actual group existed, all the vocals were done by interchangeable session singers, similar to Rinder & Lewis’ other brainchild El Coco. Debuting with the self-titled Le Pamplemousse album 1976, a string of successful 12″s followed, in particular “Le Spank” and “Get Your Boom Boom (Around The Room Room)” from their second album on which The Jones Girls contributed vocals, and “Monkey See, Monkey Do” and “Do You Have Any?”. The LPs were all packaged in erotic covers, centered around a juicy grapefruit. With the arrival of the 80s, disco’s popularity had dropped drastically, and their albums on to 1984’s final Put Your Love Where Your Mouth Is featuring some Gloria Gold were all poor sellers.


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