Sherbet in Europe

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The word sharāb entered European languages in the late medieval period, resulting in words like sciroppo and syrup via Latin. The first Western mention of sherbet appeared only in the sixteenth century, when it was recorded in Italian as something that Turks drank. Italians adopted the word as sorbetto, rather than scerbetto, due to a folk etymology connecting it with sorbire, “to sip.” From sorbetto came the French sorbet (1553), Spanish sorbete, and Portuguese sorvete. English might be the only Western language that adopted the word “sherbet” directly from Turkish.