A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 21, 2015
Hen Fruit (eggs)

"Hen fruit” is a jocular way to say “eggs.” “Hen fruit” has been cited in print since at least 1844; “henfruit” has been cited since 1864. “‘Hen fruit’ is boiled eggs” was cited in a list of restaurant slang in 1887.


Dictionary.com
hen fruit
noun, Facetious.
1. a hen’s egg or eggs.
Origin of hen fruit
1850-55, Americanism

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hen-fruit n. chiefly U.S. slang eggs; also hen’s fruit.
1854 Harper’s Mag. Jan. 280/2 A young lady is said to have asked a gentleman at the table of a hotel ‘down East’ to pass her the ‘hen fruit’. She pointed to a plate of eggs.
1873 C. G. Leland Egyptian Sketch-bk. 71 Their ‘hen-fruit’, as it is elegantly termed in America.
1887 Boston Guide (Farmer), If he confines his Hen Fruit to the vintage of ‘87

9 April 1844, The State Banner (Bennington, VT), pg. 2, col. 4: 
REFINEMENT.—A Western editor recently, heard a young lady at table ask for ‘hen fruit’—meaning eggs.

Chronicling America
11 April 1844, Cadiz (OK) Sentinel, pg. 1, col. 5:
We recently heard a young lady at table, ask for “hen fruit”—meaning eggs.

Chronicling America
11 April 1844, Jeffersonian Republican (Stroudsburg, PA), pg. 1, col. 1:
Eggs are called in the west, by extremely modest people, “hen fruit.”

26 September 1846, Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette (Hallowell, ME), “Odds and Ends,” pg. 2, col. 4:
Delicate ladies, now call eggs “hen fruit.”

Google Books
January 1854, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, pg. 280, col. 2:
A YOUNG lady is said to have asked a gentleman at the table of a hotel “ down East” to pass her the “hen fruit.” She pointed to a plate of eggs. An Eastern editor suggests “Shanghai berries” as a more fastidious term.

Google Books
September 1854, Yankee Notions, pg. 276, col. 2:
REFINEMENT-A western editor recently heard a young lady at the table ask for “hen fruit,” meaning eggs.

26 December 1864, The Semi-Weekly Telegraph (Salt Lake City, UT), “Bits of News,” pg. 3, col. 3:
“Henfruit” is scarce and dear in Nevada. Same here.

Google Books
Hanky Panky:
A Book of Conjuring Tricks

By Wiljalba Frikell
London: Chatto & Windus
1875
Pg. 54:
It is then spread out on the table, the egg laid in its centre, and the handkerchief taken by its four ends, so that the audience cannot doubt that the “henfruit” is really in the middle.

Brooklyn Newsstand
3 July 1887, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Restaurant Calls,” pg. 13, col. 1:
‘Hen fruit” is boiled eggs.

Google Books
Americanisms--Old & New
Compiled and Edited by John Stephen Farmer
London: Thomas Poulter & Sons
1889
Pg. 294:
HEN FRUIT. — A vulgarism for eggs.

Google Books
Slang and Its Analogues: Past and Present
Volume III: Fla to Hyps

Compiled b y John Stephen Farmer and W. E. Henley
Printed for Subscribers Only.
1893
Pg. 303:
HEN-FRUIT, subs. (American). — Eggs.

Urban Dictionary
Henfruit
An egg-the kind you get from a chicken.
Waitress: What’ll you have, hon?
Me: I’ll have 2 henfruit, over easy.
Waitress: WTF are you talking about-speak english ya freak!!
Me: Oh, sorry-2 eggs, over easy.
Waitress: That’s better-2 eggs coming up!
Me: Fetch the tip, bitch~

by bangboy January 07, 2010

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, August 21, 2015 • Permalink