c. 1500, "very small kind of seedless blackish raisin or dried grape, used in cookery and confections," a shortening of raysyn of Curans (late 14c.) "raisins of Corinth," with the -s- mistaken for a plural inflection. From Anglo-French reisin de Corauntz. The raisins were exported from southern Greece.
In 1570s the word was applied to the small round red or black berry of an unrelated Northern European plant (genus Ribes), then lately introduced in England, on its resemblance to the raisins. It later was applied to plants having similar fruit in America and Australia.
"many-stemmed woody plant," from Old English bysc (found in place names), from West Germanic *busk "bush, thicket" (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German busc, Dutch bosch, bos, German Busch). Influenced by or combined with Old French (busche "firewood") and Medieval Latin busca (source also of Italian bosco, Spanish bosque, French bois), both of which probably are from Germanic (compare Boise).
In the British American colonies, applied from 1650s to the uncleared districts. In South Africa, "country," as opposed to town (1780); probably from Dutch bosch in the same sense. As "branch of a tree hung out as a tavern-sign," 1530s; hence the proverb "good wine needs no bush." Meaning "pubic hair" (especially of a woman) is from 1745. To beat the bushes (mid-15c.) is a way to rouse birds so that they fly into the net which others are holding, which originally was the same thing as beating around the bush (see beat (v.)).
mid-14c., embushen, enbushen,inbuchen, "to hide in ambush," from Old French embuschier (13c., Modern French embûcher) "to hide, conceal, lay an ambush," from en- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + busch "wood," which is apparently from Frankish *busk "bush, woods," or a similar Germanic source (see bush (n.)). The notion probably is "hide in the bush," or "lure into the bush." Related: Ambushed; ambushing.
1785, in reference to a type of flower cluster, from Latin racemus "a cluster of grapes" (see raisin). In Middle English, "a raisin or currant" (late 14c.).