Posted by ESC on September 07, 2005
In Reply to: Beware of falling pineapples posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 07, 2005
: : : : Where does this phrase come from, and what does it mean?
: : : This is a wild guess. I went on a tour of an historic home in Frankfort, Ky. One of the four-poster beds had pineapples on each post. A pineapple, the guide said, was a symbol of hospitality. A guest overstayed his welcome and his hostess removed the pineapples from the bed. Maybe the phrase has something to do with that. Or not.
: : Good grief. I googled and found I'd told this story before. http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/14/messages/383.html
: I'd just like to point out that guides to historic houses (in any country) are among the most notorious purveyors of junk etymology, and therefore any story told by a historic house guide should be regarded with deep suspicion unless borne out by a reliable source. (VSD)
Oh, Kentucky historic house guides are very reliable and Kentucky women very spirited. That's enough for me. (ESC)
Here's what I found online previously by searching "colonial times" and "pineapple."
: : In colonial times a sea captain would announce his homecoming by placing a pineapple on his gatepost as a sign that visitors were welcome. Eventually the pineapple became the symbol of hospitality. http://members.aol.com/msjudys/c_wreaths.htm
: : The pineapple has long been considered the traditional symbol of hospitality. Begun when Captain James Cook returned from the Hawaiian Islands offering a pineapple, a rare and regal fruit, to only his noblest of friends.
: : http://www.super8tahoe.com/Pineapple.html
: "The Joy of Cooking" says pineapples symbolize hospitality in the American South.