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Pine Nuts or Cedar Nuts. How to speak correctly?

Nature gave us small and tasty nuts, hinting that there should be a little good. The kernels of most types of nuts contain a large number of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fats, and proteins.

Of all types of nuts, pine (cedar) nuts have unique properties that are beneficial to humans. Since ancient times, people have known the healing powers of pine nuts and therefore they have been widely used in folk medicine. They treated diseases such as gastritis, chronic pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, etc.

You may have noticed that on the Internet and the pages of English textbooks, nuts from pine trees are often called differently - someone speaks of them as "Pine Nuts", and in some places, you can find the mention of "Cedar Nuts". In this article, we will try to understand the etymology of these two phrases, as well as understand whether these nuts differ from each other.

The Latin origin of “Pine Nuts”.

The origin of the word “Pine tree” has already been studied in detail by linguists and language specialists. Its basis is the Latin word "Pinus". So in Ancient Rome and medieval Europe, they called an evergreen coniferous tree, shrub, or elfin tree, which belonged to the class of conifers, and the genus pine.

However, it has not yet been precisely established which word formed the basis of the Latin word “Pinus”. According to some sources, this is the Celtic "pin" (rock or mountain), that is, a tree growing on rocks or in a mountainous area. Other language experts claim that this word came from early Latin dialects and meant "picis" (resin), that is, in this way the ancient Latins designated any tree from which natural resin oozed.

Since the total number of Latin borrowings in English is about 30%, it is not surprising that this Latin term has stuck in English speakers.

The origin of the name "Cedar Nuts".

Obviously, the word "Cedar" is closely related to the word «cedr» («кедр»), used in modern Russian. However, the roots of this word go back to the ancient history of Greek culture and the spread of Orthodoxy in Russia.

This word first occurs in the Greek chronicles of the ancient era. The ancient Greeks called the cedar trees, which they rarely met, "kedros" (“Κέδρος του Θεού” or "God's juniper").

The word "kedros" (in the Latin pronunciation of "cedrus") is related to another Greek word – “κιτριά” (“citra”) - denoted citron plant (“Citrus medica”), from the name of which came "citrus". Probably, both “kedros” and “citron” are associated with a specific smell or the use of oils from these trees for ritual purposes. Perhaps there is also a connection with the Semitic root “KVD” - strength, power (Arabic “kadir” - "mighty").

Together with Orthodox Christianity, "God's juniper" - "cedar" - entered the life of the inhabitants of Russia, spreading to Siberia. Today English speakers call the tree growing in Siberia "Cedar", and accordingly, its harvest are called "Cedar nuts".


So, is there any linguistic factor in the difference between the names "Pine Nuts" and "Cedar Nuts"? Of course there is, the first term owes its origin to the Latin word “Pinus” (“pine tree”). Cedar Nuts are derived from the Greek word "kedros" - this is how the ancient Greeks called the cedar trees growing in Lebanon and Asia Minor.

However, when using the distinction between “Pine Nuts” and “Cedar Nuts”, the English speakers define the nut growing region. When talking about "Cedar", Europeans and Americans mean nuts harvested in the Siberian taiga. This type of nuts is very different from the usual English “Pine Nuts”.

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