Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A dark molasses cake flavored with ginger.
  • n. A soft molasses and ginger cookie cut in various shapes, sometimes elaborately decorated.
  • n. Elaborate ornamentation.
  • n. Superfluous or tasteless embellishment, especially in architecture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of cake whose main flavouring is ginger and that is typically cut into human-shaped pieces called gingerbread men or built into house-shaped cakes called gingerbread houses.
  • n. A flamboyant Victorian-era architectural style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of plain sweet cake seasoned with ginger, and sometimes made in fanciful shapes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of sweet cake flavored with ginger, it is often made in fanciful shapes.
  • Having a fanciful shape, such as is often given to gingerbread; showy but unsubstantial or inartistic: (see gingerbread-work); as, gingerbread fittings on a yacht.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. cake flavored with ginger

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English gingebred, a stiff pudding, preserved ginger, alteration (influenced by bred, bread, bread) of Old French gingembrat, from Medieval Latin *gingibrātum, from gingiber, ginger; see ginger.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French gingembras, gingimbrat, preserved ginger, from medieval Latin *gingi(m)br?t-um, (ginger that perhaps had a pharmaceutical use for some medicinal preparation), from medieval Latin gingiber, ginger. The third syllable was early confounded with bread, and the insertion of an r in the second syllable completed the semblance of a compound word.

Examples

Comments

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  • Usage and note on word/culinary origins can be found on gingembras. Also here's more: 

    "Intermediate markets, such as Montpellier, served as regional suppliers, so that spice merchants from all over southern France would obtain their spices from what functioned as both a wholesale and retail market. Montpellier was known for special preparations made with the spices it acquired from international merchants. Among complex medical compounds, the theriac of Montpellier was particularly prized (see note on theriac for more info such as ingredients). Medieval gingerbread and preserved ginger from Montpellier were sold throughout France and beyond its borders, commanding prices twice as high as comparable confections made anywhere else. Nuremberg was another center for the distribution of spices, in this case for central Europe. To this day the town is famous for its spiced Christmas cakes and gingerbread."

    Paul Freedman, <i>Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination</i> (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 116.

    December 2, 2016

  • *tosses a gingerbread fuflun at hernesheir*

    December 16, 2010

  • Hot gingerbread with whipped cream would taste good about now.

    December 14, 2010

  • They flanked opposite ends of the house and were probably architectural absurdities, redeemed in a measure indeed by not being wholly disengaged nor of a height too pretentious, dating, in their gingerbread antiquity, from a romantic revival that was already a respectable past.

    --Henry James, 1898, The Turn of the Screw

    November 19, 2009

  • Also heavily, gaudily, and superfluously ornamented

    Commonly used in reference to late 19th century Victorian architecture

    February 17, 2008