Monday, 30 September 2013

Botryoidal - "You've Got a Grape Shape"

Fruit, painting
19th century still life by unknown painter


Adjective. Late 18th century.
[from Greek botruoeides, from botrus. See -OID, -AL.]

Chiefly MINERALOGY. Resembling a cluster of grapes in shape.

Also: botryoid adjective M18

Once, when I was a child, I was at an "adults" evening, almost definitely because my parents hadn't managed to find a babysitter in time. As I was playing with my toy cars, minding my own business, I overheard the Dads talking, one of whom shifted uncomfortably in his chair, pulling at his trousers. "Unngh! And as if things weren't bad enough, my damn haemorrhoids are at me again."

"What are haemorrhoids?" I asked casually, probably aware this was not a comment meant for my ears.

There was an awkward silence, the type that children delight in, before he leant forward and said: "Listen, Ed. When you're older and you have a bunch of grapes growing out of your bum, you'll know what haemorrhoids are."

So there you have it - great explanation, Steve! I went away thinking that grapes growing out of your bum was a real medical condition, and to this day I can't help but think of that moment whenever I see a bunch of grapes or something even vaguely botryoidal (which is a shame because I love grapes and the botryoidal shape is rather lovely). Still, I do get some pleasure in recalling the utter contempt that Steve must have felt for me in that moment (I didn't like him very much), at him being put on the spot by a snotty little kid and having to explain in front of all his mates that he had botryoidal haemorrhoids growing out of his big fat botrus.

Other than grapes and ... umm ... haemorro-wotsits, can you think of anything else that's botryoidal?

Do please leave your grapiest comments below.


  1. "A generous helping of Rocky Mountain Oysters" he whispered, crossing his legs and fighting the urge to retch.


  2. A headhunter's backpack.

    A soccer-ball saleman's sample silo.

    A massive pile of tomatoes.

    This is actually easier than I thought, you just think sphere and plural.

    A peacock stampede..... actually no, that one needs some more work.


    1. Well ... I think you're oversimplifying it, to be honest, C. For one thing, grapes aren't really spherical, and the perceived shape of a bunch (or cluster) of grapes doesn't really conform to your suggestions either. I'm disappointed, if truth be known, Clueless - very, very disappointed.

  3. Looking back I think I got a bit too excited and then lost the run of myself.

    How about roughly the same elements but with egg-shaped heads, rugby balls and plum tomatoes?

    A greedy, podgy toddler holding 6 or 7 kinder eggs in between his wobbly fingers?

    A bucket of squirrels....

    ....I think it's happening again.


    1. The podgy, Kinder laden toddler - I love that one; that's botryoidal.

    2. Bwahahahaaa....this story just made my day. LOL Have a great day--full of laughter, Ed! lol

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