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What Are the Words Meaning “A Segment of Citrus Fruit”?

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Jennifer, a tutor in Tallahassee, Florida, wonders what to call a segment of an orange. Among botanists, it’s a carpel. Informally, it’s a segment, slice, wedge, peg, or pig. It may be that these segments are called pigs, because all together they look like fat little piglets huddling together as they nurse. In fact, in Scotland, the word for “young pig,” gussie, is also applied to a segment of an orange. There such citrus segments are also called liths. In French, the noun suprême refers to such a wedge of orange, and as a verb, it means “to remove the skin, pith, membranes, and seeds and separate its wedges.” Despite what Martha and Grant said in this segment, people besides Jennifer do use plug to mean a segment of an orange or other citrus fruit. By the way, if you’re wondering if there’s an official term for those stringy things on a banana, they’re called phloem bundles. This is part of a complete episode.

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