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doughnut

or do·nut

[doh-nuh t, -nuht]
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noun
  1. a small cake of sweetened or, sometimes, unsweetened dough fried in deep fat, typically shaped like a ring or, when prepared with a filling, a ball.
  2. anything shaped like a thick ring; an annular object; toroid.

Origin of doughnut

First recorded in 1795–1805; dough + nut
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for doughnut

doughnut

esp US donut

noun
  1. a small cake of sweetened dough, often ring-shaped or spherical with a jam or cream filling, cooked in hot fat
  2. anything shaped like a ring, such as the reaction vessel of a thermonuclear reactor
verb -nuts, -nutting or -nutted
  1. (tr) informal (of Members of Parliament) to surround (a speaker) during the televising of Parliament to give the impression that the chamber is crowded or the speaker is well supported
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for doughnut

n.

1809, American English, from dough + nut (n.), probably on the notion of being a small round lump (the holes came later, first mentioned c.1861). First recorded by Washington Irving, who described them as "balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks." Earlier name for it was dough-boy (1680s). Bartlett (1848) meanwhile lists doughnuts and crullers among the types of olycokes, a word he derives from Dutch olikoek, literally "oil-cake," to indicate a cake fried in lard.

The ladies of Augusta, Maine, set in operation and carried out a novel idea, namely, the distribution of over fifty bushels of doughnuts to the Third volunteer regiment of that State. A procession of ladies, headed by music, passed between double lines of troops, who presented arms, and were afterwards drawn up in hollow square to receive from tender and gracious hands the welcome doughnation. [Frazar Kirkland, "Anecdotes of the Rebellion," 1866]

Meaning "a driving in tight circles" is U.S. slang, 1981. Cf. also donut.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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