PLUM , the Prunus domestica, of which there are many different varieties. In modern Hebrew, the name shezif is applied to the plum, but erroneously, since the ancient name shezaf is the *jujube. A species of plum, Prunus ursina, grows wild in the groves of Upper Galilee and in Lebanon. It is a shrub or tree, somewhat prickly, producing small yellow tasty fruits. In Syriac it is called huha and in Arabic ḥoḥ. Some identify it with the "ḥo'aḥ in Lebanon," which in the parable of Jehoash is contrasted with the cedar of Lebanon, but the parable concludes that the wild beasts of Lebanon trod it down (ii Kings 14:9). It would therefore seem that a prickly weed is intended and not a tree, which is, in fact, the meaning of ḥo'aḥ in other passages in the Bible (see *Thistles and Thorns). In Greek and Roman literature a choice plum is referred to as damascena (δαμασκηνά which is also its name in modern Greek and in modern Arabic) because it originated from Damascus. In rabbinic literature it is found under the names dormaskin, dormaskenin, dormaskeniyyot, and is mentioned as a fruit which was mainly imported (Tosef., Dem. 1:9). It was regarded as good for sick people (bk 116b) and was served to important visitors (Ber. 39a). The parallel passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Ber. 6:2, 10b end) has aḥvanita which is the Arabic for the plum.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 163–9; Krauss, Tal Arch, 1 (1910), 488.
plum / pləm/ • n. 1. an oval fleshy fruit that is purple, reddish, or yellow when ripe and contains a flattish pointed pit. 2. (also plum tree) the deciduous tree (genus Prunus) of the rose family that bears this fruit. 3. a reddish-purple color: [as adj.] a plum blazer. 4. [usu. as adj.] inf. a thing, typically a job, considered to be highly desirable: he landed a plum assignment.• adv. variant spelling of plumb1 .
Professor Plum is the name of one of the six stock characters constituting the murderer and suspects in the game of Cluedo.
have a plum in one's mouth have an accent thought typical of the English upper classes.
like a ripe plum used to convey that something can be obtained with little or no effort.
See also a cherry year, a merry year; a plum year, a dumb year.