Poison apple or poisoned apple

  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Technically only poisoned is right, because poison is a noun or a verb but not an adjective (according to major dictionaries).

    But "poison apple" is widely used and sounds idiomatic.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Snow White ate the poisoned (adj.) apple. :thumbsup: -> the apple that was poisoned
    Snow White ate the poison (n.) apple. :thumbsdown: -> Snow White ate the apple that was associated with poison.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Snow White ate the poisoned (adj.) apple. :thumbsup: -> the apple that was poisoned
    Snow White ate the poison (n.) apple. :thumbsdown: -> Snow White ate the apple that was associated with poison.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Technically only poisoned is right, because poison is a noun or a verb but not an adjective (according to major dictionaries).
    But "poison apple" is widely used and sounds idiomatic.
    The English language, at least in my experience, is suffering what I call the "disappearing 'ed' syndrome."
    Iced tea has become "ice tea," canned goods have become "can goods" and "iced cream" long ago disappeared in favor of "ice cream," despite having no ice mixed in at all.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I agree with Sdgraham, and it blurs meaning.

    The poisoned apple = the apple that was poisoned, as in Snow White and the suicide of Alan Turing.
    The poison apple = a tree in the Galapagos, also called manzanilla or manzanilla de la muerte which means “little apple of death.” It is a member of the family Euphorbiaceae. Every part of the tree is extremely poisonous, no part is safe to touch as it causes severe dermatitis that is much quicker acting than poison ivy, oak or sumac.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is also found in and around the Caribbean. I think that meaning should be incorporated into the Snow White story to created added interest for young children:
    When ingested, the fruit is reportedly "pleasantly sweet" at first, with a subsequent "strange peppery feeling ..., gradually progress[ing] to a burning, tearing sensation and tightness of the throat". Symptoms continue to worsen until the patient can "barely swallow solid food because of the excruciating pain and the feeling of a huge obstructing pharyngeal lump"
    Manchineel - Wikipedia
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Perhaps this is speech evolution at work, and how it precedes syntax.

    In speech, over time, the /d/ sound of "iced cream" is lost, so that the term becomes "ice cream." More to the point, the /d/ sound is assimilated into the "cr" sound of "cream." Soon enough, ice cream becomes the standard pronunciation (more or less: /ˌaɪsˈkriːm/), and that's what's reflected in writing. The same thing happened to the /d/ sound of "canned goods" (→ can goods) and "poisoned apple" (→ poison apple), where they become assimilated into the initial sound of the following word.

    Syntax doesn't mind one way or the other, given that English is very flexible in the way that it forms compound nouns; it can be done with adjective + noun (iced cream) or noun + noun (ice cream). There may be a semantic difference too. The focus in the poisoned apple is more on what happened to the apple, while the focus in the poison apple is rather on this two-word noun, though this differentiation may be subjective. Of course, one way or the other, this is also a metaphor; the apple as forbidden fruit.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The popularity of the Poison Apple series of children's books may end up overriding any logic on this subject.
     
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