Nix that fruit. It really is a vegetable

I’ve always adopted a somewhat disdainful approach to those “fruit or vegetable” arguments that occasionally beset the tomato (and other things). Different realms of discourse, obviously. But no! It made a difference, back in 1893, when differential tariffs were bunged on fruits and vegetables. In the US, imported vegetables were taxed. Fruits were not. The Nix family sued Edward L. Hedden, Collector of the Port of New York, for taxes paid under protest — and lost.

In Nix v. Hedden the Supreme Court, after hearing readings from several dictionaries, opined that:

“The passages cited from the dictionaries define the word ‘fruit’ as the seed of plants, or that part of plants which contains the seed, and especially the juicy, pulpy products of certain plants, covering and containing the seed. These definitions have no tendency to show that tomatoes are ‘fruit,’ as distinguished from ‘vegetables,’ in common speech, or within the meaning of the tariff act.”

Useful ammo.

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