Spreading cranberry: the meaning and origin of phraseology

Spreading cranberry: the meaning and origin of phraseology
Spreading cranberry: the meaning and origin of phraseology

Idioms best reflect the culture of a language. They are also called simply phraseological units, aphorisms or catch phrases.

There is an interesting idiom in Russian - "spreading cranberry". We have to find out:

  • What does this expression mean?
  • What is its origin?
  • How is it used today?
  • What are similar phrases?

Idiom: concept

This term means one of the types of phraseological units - fusion. Idioms are such stable expressions that carry one meaning, while being indivisible.

spreading cranberry

For example, the idiom "to beat the thumbs" means "to mess around". None of the words in this expression hints at the meaning of the whole phrase. "Baklushi" are such wooden blanks from which various products were made. They were beaten during processing, and in Russia it was considered simple labor. From here came the phraseological unit, which was associated with idleness.

Idioms are expressions that convey the realities of a particular language. English phraseological units canbe incomprehensible to Russian people, and Russians to the British. To understand the idiom, you need to delve into the history and culture of the country of the language being studied.

Meaning of phraseology

"Spreading cranberry" is one of the idioms that convey the realities of the Russian language. This phrase means fiction, stereotypes, misconceptions, fiction. In a word, the meaning of "spreading cranberry" is a lie.

spreading cranberry meaning

What is the figurativeness of a phraseological unit? The fact is that the cranberry is a short plant, so it cannot be branchy. The expression is based on an oxymoron, that is, a combination of words that have a diametrically opposite meaning. Examples of this phenomenon are a large child, hot snow, a living corpse, and others.


There are several versions of how and when the idiom "spreading cranberry" appeared. There is an opinion that this expression was first used in 1910. It was a parody play by B. Geyer, which was shown in the theater of St. Petersburg.

It was about a young girl who was forced to marry a Cossack and separated from her beloved. The unfortunate woman recalls how happy she was with him "in the shade of a spreading cranberry." The work ridiculed Western literary cliches with primitive ideas about Russian life.

After the presentation, the idiom "spreading cranberry" began to spread widely. However, the author of this play was not the true creator of the expression. B. Geyer only formalized the phrase in a literary way and, so to speak,"launched" her into the world.

The authorship of the "spreading cranberry" was attributed to Alexandre Dumas the elder, although this turned out to be unreliable information. L. Trotsky made this mistake, who allegedly read the phrase in the notes of the French writer about Russia.

spreading cranberry meaning of phraseological unit

According to one of the versions, the Frenchman did exist in the history of phraseology, but he was not Dumas, but an unknown young man. He described in his diary how he had been to Russia and sat in the shade of a spreading cranberry. Based on this version, after this incident, the expression became catchy.

Linguists also admit the possibility of misinterpretation from French into Russian. Arbuste branchu - arbust branches, which means "spreading shrub" in translation. So called cranberries and other berry bushes. This could cause confusion in translation, which eventually gave rise to such a wonderful idiom based on an oxymoron.

And one of the most accomplished versions of the origin is irony. The Russian people themselves, according to this assumption, came up with the phraseological unit "spreading cranberry". So the inhabitants of a great and powerful country ridiculed the fictions of foreigners about their true way of life. B. Geyer's play was based on this humorous phenomenon.


Currently, the idiom "spreading cranberry" is used when talking about works whose authors make inaccuracies in demonstrating the Russian way of life. Moreover, initially phraseologism ridiculedforeigners with false stereotypes, and now Russian creators are criticized with a similar expression.

spreading cranberry idiom

The idiom is found in the patriotic song "Baron von der Pshik", which appeared during the Second World War. It was performed by the Soviet artist Leonid Utyosov. The text jokingly describes a boastful German baron who is served bacon under a spreading cranberry. As a result, the German gets what he deserves from the Russian soldiers.


Phraseologism "spreading cranberry" can be replaced by other interesting catchphrases:

  • Vampuka. So called hackneyed clichés in the opera. The expression itself came from a parody production called: "Vampuka, the bride of Africa, an exemplary opera in all respects."
  • General Moroz (Russian Winter/General Winter). How often have you heard the statement that Napoleon and Hitler could not stand the Russian winters and therefore were defeated? So, this version is controversial. Many historians completely refute it. General Frost is an ironic name for a phenomenon that has become mythical.

The study of idioms is necessary to broaden one's horizons, develop internal culture and intelligence.

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