Sloes

are the fruit of the BLACKTHORN (Prunus spinosa). The name is OE sla(h). Robert Graves pointed out that the words sloe and slay are closely related in early English, something that may account for the unlucky label given to the tree. The name appears in various guises as dialectal forms. Slue is a Wiltshire variant (Dartnell& Goddard), and the word has appeared also as Slow (Drury. 1992), or Slea (A E Baker). Slon, or Slan (Grigson. 1955), are modern singulars of the ME plural slon and OE plural slan, the well-known plural ending in '-n', is still in use in words like children. Then we have a double plural, for in Wiltshire the plurals of Slon and Slan, are Slons and Slans.

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