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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: The Gift of Pbbbbbt! (for the Week of June 17, 2007)

June 13, 2007

Q. Dear Twig: What does it mean to give someone a raspberry?

A. Close your mouth. Stick out your tongue through your lips. Puff out your cheeks. Then blow out a sharp burst of air. Pbbbbbt! That's it! That's what it means to give someone a raspberry!

In this case, to "give someone a raspberry," or to "blow a raspberry," has nothing to do with fruit.

(Raspberries, yes, are a type of fruit. But in fact they aren't at all berries. Scientists call them an aggregate fruit made up of many drupelets.)

And it isn't a gift, either.

No, it's a silly way to say you don't like something. Say, you find out you're having Thai Fried Liver Balls for dinner. Or your favorite baseball player ("Gra-DEE! Gra-DEE!") makes an out.

The online Wikipedia says "blow a raspberry" comes from Cockney rhyming slang, a type of slang in England. It stems from "raspberry tart," a pastry, and a word that rhymes with it and with "Bart."


P.S. Another term for "blowing a raspberry" is to give someone a "Bronx cheer." Pbbbt!

Notes: "Bronx cheer" comes from New York City, Yankee Stadium, and is a sarcastic way to show dislike. "Sarcasm" means saying the opposite of what one really thinks. Blowing a raspberry/Bronx cheer is actually probably best reserved for silly, not serious, occasions. ("Oh yeah? Pbbbbbt!") Learn more about the phrase at Read about Cockney rhyming slang at Last but not least, learn how to grow, not blow, raspberries in Ohio State University Extension's Brambles: Production, Management and Marketing,

About this column: "Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," a free public service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences - specifically, of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension, both part of the College - is a weekly column for children about science, nature, farming and the environment. The reading level typically rates at grades 3.5-4.5. For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, CommTech, OSU/OARDC,1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691,, (330) 263-3776. Online at

Kurt Knebusch