Currant - current

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Currant and current form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these.

Be careful about the spelling of these two homophones.

  • A currant is: 1) a dried fruit ('The raisin or dried fruit prepared from a dwarf seedless variety of grape, grown in the Levant; much used in cookery and confectionery' OED), which is the earliest meaning. This was 2) 'transferred to the small round berry of certain species of Ribes (R. nigrum, R. rubrum) called Black and Red Currants. (The White Currant is a variety of the Red.)' (ibid.) This is the plant which is grown in Britain, and can be bought fresh here, in season. (They make delicious jams. Blackcurrants make very popular drinks and, I think, marvellous sweet pies.)
  • Current can be used as both a noun and an adjective. It comes from the Latin word meaning 'to run' (currere), and is the spelling to use for any sense that involves 'flowing' or 'running'. There are currents in rivers and seas, as well as the air; electricity is commonly available in alternating or direct current (AC or DC); and news or rumours may be current (that is, being reported at this moment).
This is one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP.