the red, acid fruit or berry of certain plants of the genus Vaccinium, of the heath family, as V. macrocarpon(large cranberry or American cranberry) or V. oxycoccus(small cranberry or European cranberry) used in making sauce, relish, jelly, or juice.
the plant itself, growing wild in bogs or cultivated in acid soils, especially in the northeastern U.S.
1647, Amer.Eng. adaptation of Low Ger. kraanbere, from kraan "crane" + M.L.G. bere "berry," perhaps from a resemblance between the plants' stamens and the beaks of cranes. Ger. and Du. settlers in the New World apparently recognized the similarity between the European berries (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and the larger N.Amer. variety (V. macrocarpum) and transferred the name. In England, they were marshwhort or fenberries, but the N.Amer. berries, and the name, were brought over late 17c. The native Algonquian name for the plant is represented by W.Abenai popokwa.