The fruit of a fig tree is really the hollow end of a stem, and bears numerous achenia inside the cavity. Many species have little, hard, inedible figs, and in only a few does the fruit become soft and pulpy. The fruit of the cultivated varieties is much prized in its fresh state, and also when dried or preserved. See Caprification.
4. The value of a fig, practically nothing; a fico; used in scorn or contempt. "A fig for Peter." Cochineal fig. See Conchineal fig. Fig dust, a preparation of fine oatmeal for feeding caged birds. Fig faun, one of a class of rural deities or monsters supposed to live on figs. "Therefore shall dragons dwell there with the fig fauns.
<zoology>" Fig gnat, a small fly said to be injurious to figs. Fig leaf, the leaf tree; hence, in allusion to the first clothing of Adam and Eve (Genesis III.7), a covering for a thing that ought to be concealed; especially, an inadequate covering; a symbol for affected modesty.
Origin: F. Figue the fruit of the tree, Pr. Figa, fr. L. Ficus fig tree, fig. Cf. Fico.
(01 Mar 1998)
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