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[jin-jer-bred] /ˈdʒɪn dʒərˌbrɛd/
a type of cake flavored with ginger and molasses.
a rolled cookie similarly flavored, often cut in fanciful shapes, and sometimes frosted.
elaborate, gaudy, or superfluous architectural ornamentation:
a series of gables embellished with gingerbread.
heavily, gaudily, and superfluously ornamented:
a gingerbread style of architecture.
Origin of gingerbread
1250-1300; Middle English gingebreed (influenced by breed bread), variant of gingebrad, -brat ginger paste < Old French gingembras, -brat preserved ginger < Medieval Latin *gingi(m)brātum a medicinal preparation (neuter past participle), derivative of Latin gingiber ginger
Related forms
gingerbready, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gingerbread
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She has been helping us make crumpets, crullers, gingerbread, and cake.

  • Suppose I should wish to buy a small piece of gingerbread for a cent.

    Rollo in Paris Jacob Abbott
  • Sairy, cutting the gingerbread into squares, held the knife suspended.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • "Well, you will have to if we have gingerbread for supper," said Gloriana.

    Tabitha's Vacation

    Ruth Alberta Brown
  • Now you can put in your gingerbread whenever you are ready, Glory.

    Tabitha's Vacation

    Ruth Alberta Brown
British Dictionary definitions for gingerbread


a moist brown cake, flavoured with ginger and treacle or syrup
  1. a rolled biscuit, similarly flavoured, cut into various shapes and sometimes covered with icing
  2. (as modifier): gingerbread man
  1. an elaborate but unsubstantial ornamentation
  2. (as modifier): gingerbread style of architecture
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
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Word Origin and History for gingerbread

late 13c., gingerbrar, from Old French ginginbrat "ginger preserve," from Medieval Latin gingimbratus "gingered," from gingiber (see ginger). The ending changed by folk etymology to -brede "bread," a formation attested by mid-14c. Originally "preserved ginger," the meaning "a kind of spiced cake" is from 15c. Figurative use, "showy, insubstantial" is from c.1600. Sense of "fussy decoration on a house" is first recorded 1757; gingerbread-work (1748) was a sailor's term for carved decoration on a ship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gingerbread



: the gingerbread stacks of the old river steamers


  1. Money (1700+)
  2. Fussy decoration, esp on a house; frillwork (1757+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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